Farmer Phil's Veggie Varieties
Farmer Phil's Herb Varieties

What is Good Soil?

What is good soil? Although soil needs vary with types of plants, no soil should ever be hard, rocky, soggy, or nutrient-poor for any garden of vegetables. Instead, ideal soil has a soft texture and enough nutrients to make plants thrive. Digging through your garden will indicate what type of soil you have, and, if you happen to have poor soil, other options include using plants or creating a bed made from good soil.

When you’re dealing with a garden with average to good soil, the first step before doing any planting or digging is to prepare the area. This includes removing grass, rocks, and other debris. To remove any grass, cut the sod into small squares and remove it from the ground. Once the soil is exposed, it needs to be loosened about eight to 12 inches into the ground with a garden fork.

Most types of soil need “improving” to some extent, either by adding more nutrients or adjusting the pH. To add more nutrients, work two to three inches of compost, soil conditioner, or other materials, such as cottonseed meal, into the ground with a garden fork. These will give the plants more nutrients once added and will help with drainage. The pH may also need adjustment for certain types of plants and, at this point, any lime or sulfur should be added, too. To find the exact pH before and after, use an at-home pH testing kit or have it tested.

The final step before adding any plants is to make the soil smooth and level. This, too, is done with a garden fork.





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