During the summer, we gave you some great little tips about growing your own fruit and veg – you can read the article here.
One of the important points we made was that it is vital to check that your soil is suitable. It’s a broad subject, so we thought today would be an excellent opportunity for us to explore it in more detail.
So, if you want to make the most of your fruit and veg opportunities, read on. We’re going to show you how to get your soil in perfect condition. Let’s get cracking right away.
Before you get started, make sure that you know exactly what you are dealing with. Look around for soil testing kits, or if you are looking at a large area, try and seek out geotechnical site investigation services in your locale. They will test your soil for you and report back to you.
While the testing process is technical, the results will tell you what you need to do. The ideal soil for growing veggies is somewhere between pH 6 and pH7. If you go too far above or below that, you’ll need to make some adjustments. Let’s take a look at that next.
Lower your pH
If your soil has a pH much higher than 7, then there are a few ways of taking it down a notch. pH is a measure of alkalinity or acidity – lower than a 7 is acidic while higher than a 6 is alkaline. In between is classed as neutral.
So, if you get a score of more than 7, your soil has too much alkaline in it, and you have to make it more acidic. The easiest way of doing this is to add something that is called sphagnum peat. Just cover the area you intend to grow your veg on, between one and two inches thick. If you can’t get hold of any sphagnum peat, try adding a vinegar solution – two tablespoons to every gallon. It will have a similar effect.
Raise your pH
But what if your soil is too acidic and you need to raise your pH? Again, there’s a simple solution. Find some crushed limestone, and mix it in with soil. Do it carefully, though, and keep testing the pH levels until you achieve the right balance.
Now you have a neutral soil; it’s time to improve things further. All veggies need a decent amount of organic material to thrive, as it can soften the ground and make it easier for the veg to grow. It also works like a sponge, which helps get more moisture to anything growing underneath.
Compost and manure are two straightforward examples of what to look out for. You can also investigate the effects of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. You often find this collection of soil-enhancing chemicals in bags of fertilizer, and the amounts of each can be changed to suit your soil type.
Some other nutrients are excellent for growing veggies, too. Manganese, zinc, copper and iron traces all can make a difference.
As you can see, there are many little things you can do to ensure your soil stays in perfect condition for growing fruit and vegetable. Let us know your thoughts and suggestions!