- Vegetables love the sun. They require six hours (continuous, if possible) of sunlight each day, at least.
- Vegetables must have good, loamy, well-drained soil. Most backyard soil is not perfect and needs a helping hand. Check with your local nursery or county extension office about soil testing, soil types, and soil enrichment.
- Remember your plants need food and water, so where you plant them is important. A vegetable garden too near a tree will lose its nutrients to the tree’s greedy root system. On the other hand, a garden close to the house will help to discourage wild animals from nibbling away your potential harvest.
- Vegetables need lots of water, at least one inch of water a week.
Preparing Soil for Gardening
- If you have clay soil, add coarse sand (not beach sand), compost, and peat moss.
- If you have sandy soil, add humus or aged manure, peat moss, or sawdust with some extra nitrogen. Heavy, clay-rich soil can also be added to improve the soil.
- If you have silt soil, add coarse sand (not beach sand) or gravel and compost, or well-rotted horse manure mixed with fresh straw.
Soil Amendments and Benefits
- Bark, ground: made from various tree barks. Improves soil structure.
- Compost: excellent conditioner.
- Leaf mold: decomposed leaves that add nutrients and structure to soil.
- Lime: raises the pH of acid soil and helps loosen clay soil.
- Manure: best if composted. Good conditioner.
- Peat moss: conditioner that helps soil retain water.
- Sand: improves drainage in clay soil.
- Topsoil: usually used with another amendment. Replaces existing soil.