Soil requirements for vegetables are very important. They affect the quality of taste, color, texture and other attributes of your produce. If they don’t have proper soil, then it will not grow well or at all! There are many types of soils available on the market today. Some contain nutrients and others do not. You need to choose the right one according to your needs.
The first thing you must decide is what kind of soil you want for your vegetable garden. There are three main kinds of soils: Organic matter based (organic), Clay based (clay) and Sand based (sand). These are called soil types because they consist mostly of organic material such as composted plant materials, animal manure, tree bark, etc.
Organic Matter Based Soils
These soils are made up mainly of organic matter such as composted plant materials, animal manure, tree bark, etc. They provide good drainage and aeration. They usually require less fertilizers than clay based soils. However, they tend to be more expensive than sand based soils.
Clay Based Soils
They are similar to organic soil except that they contain little or no clay particles. They drain water very fast and are easy to work with. They tend to dry out faster than organic soil.
Sand Based Soils
They are the opposite of clay based soils because they contain a lot of sand particles. They provide good aeration for roots but do not retain water for long. Plant nutrients are easily leached out of the soil. It is not suitable for vegetable garden.
After deciding what kind of soil you want, you need to prepare the soil before planting. You can either buy bagged soil or loose soil (sold by the truck load). If you have decided to buy bagged soil, it is alright because most bagged soils are treated and ready for planting. If you have decided to buy loose soil then you need to prepare it for planting.
Loose soil has no structure and contains a lot of small stones, debris and air pockets. In order to have a well structured soil, you need to add organic materials such as compost or manure to increase its fertility and texture. If the soil is on the dry side, then you should also add some water before planting. After preparing the soil, it should have the right structure and be free of stones and other debris.
After preparing the soil you can plant different vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants, lettuce, spinach, etc. You will need to buy the seeds or young plants from a nursery. It is best to plant according to the instructions on the package. You must prepare your vegetable garden early because it takes time for the seeds to grow into mature plants.
Once your plants are ready for harvest, then you can start digging them out from the soil. After harvesting, it is a good idea to leave the remains in the ground and cover with mulch (leaves, straw, grass cuttings, etc). This will replenish the soil with nutrients for next year. So once again, have fun planting your vegetables!
Sources & references used in this article:
Plant growth enhancement and disease control byTrichoderma harzianum in vegetable seedlings grown under commercial conditions by J Inbar, M Abramsky, D Cohen, I Chet – European journal of plant …, 1994 – Springer
Uptake of heavy metals by vegetable plants grown on contaminated soil and their bioavailability in the human gastrointestinal tract by M Intawongse, JR Dean – Food additives and contaminants, 2006 – Taylor & Francis
Tolerance of vegetable crops to salinity by MC Shannon, CM Grieve – Scientia horticulturae, 1998 – Elsevier
Assessing potential dietary toxicity of heavy metals in selected vegetables and food crops by E ul Islam, X Yang, Z He, Q Mahmood – Journal of Zhejiang University …, 2007 – Springer