Preparing Soil for Growing Vegetables

Before you begin to sow your vegetable seed you will need to prepare the soil in which they will sit and grow and take their nourishment from. There are a number steps involved in preparing your soil and it starts with getting to know your soil.

To learn more about how to determine your soil type and improve on it check out our SOIL CARE articles in this How to Garden Section.

Once you Know your soil type and soil condition you can then begin the process  of improving it and making it just right for growing vegetables. Here are a few things to consider before growing vegetables.

Soil pH

  • Vegetables like a slightly acidic soil (pH 6.8 is ideal)
  • If your soil is alkaline you  can low Ph (raise acidity) by adding sulphate
  • Test your soil pH using a basic soil pH test kit

Soil Depth

  • The Best soils are the deepest ones.
  • At least 6 inches of top soil is required to grow vegetables
  • To grow potatoes and root crops you will need 18 inches of top soil
  • Topsoil differs from subsoil is colour
    • Topsoil is Darker in colour

Soil Texture and Type

  • The type of soil you have determines what vegetables grow best
  • To determine your soil type read our article on soil types in the SOIL CARE section
  • Root crops require light open soils
  • Brassicas are happy in heavy clay soil
  • No vegetables like water logged soil
  • The ideal soil type is a loam soil – best balance of drainage and water retention

Soil Fertility

  • Of course nutrients are essential for vegetables
  • Potatoes & Brassicas are hungry crops
  • You can use a soil test kit to determine soil fertility
  • Improve fertility with
    • Farm yard manure
    • Chicken manure pellets
    • Straight fertilizers such as Super phosphate or Potassium Sulphate
    • Use Organic fertilizers such as fish blood and bone
  • Soil Temperature
    • Vegetables require warm soils to grow
    • Growth begins once soil is warm enough in spring
    • You can raise soil temperatures earlier by using a garden cloche over vegetable plot