Fall Vegetable Garden Care and Soil pH
14.12.2023 - 15:31
[The following introduction is an excerpt from our second book, “Grow More Food: A Vegetable Gardener’s Guide to The Biggest Harvest Possible”]
If you have an existing garden that hasn’t been managed with an eye towards ongoing soil management, you likely have depleted some (or most) of the essential nutrients. You may also have an overly acidic or basic pH. Plants absorb significant quantities of nutrients from the soil each year, and unless you are actively replacing these nutrients, plant vigor and yield will decrease over time. Fortunately, it’s never too late to begin rebuilding garden soil and significant improvements can be made relatively quickly.
Many gardeners maintain reasonably good soil fertility simply by adding compost, using organic fertilizers, and ensuring that their soil pH is in a reasonable range (between 6 and 7 for most plants). However, if your goal is to maximize your yields using organic methods, a professional soil test will help make sure your nutrient and pH levels are optimum, and will help you identify any trouble spots before they become a problem.
If compost is the only soil amendment you use, your crop productivity and nutrient density is heavily dependent on the quality of the compost. In our experience, the quality of compost (both professional and home-made) varies widely. Without testing, there’s no way to know if your soil and compost contain the full complement of minerals and nutrients necessary to grow quality crops. We have seen many gardeners and farmers get good results for a few years simply by adding compost and organic fertilizer, only to be plagued by poor production as time goes on and specific nutrient deficiencies become more pronounced.
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