Careful soil preparation is always at the top of the pile in a vegetable garden design tips list. It takes a lot of effort and time involved in gardening and yet you can only know if you have been doing it right or wrong in at least a few weeks. So preparation and proper planning is critical, unless of course you want to learn through experience and you have time to spare.
Like they always say, learn from your experience but most importantly, learn from others’ mistakes.
Your garden spot must have at least 5-6 hours of sunshine everyday. Though it is nice to have your garden nearer to your house but please observe where the shades from your house gets to in the daytime. Take note also of shades coming from trees or tall bushes.
Remember no chemicals, spray or water can replace sunshine, so that would be your number one priority.
Next if your garden has already been cultivated before and used in the months before then there is not much to do other than to mix in additional organic material and fertilizers. The soil should be very fertile and with good irrigation. To check on this, make sure there is no water puddles forming after a douse of rain. Wet soil causes poor rooting.
Apart from good drainage, the soil should also be free of stones, rocks, sticks and other debris. When you are working and digging into your soil, please do only when it is dry or moist. Soils should not be worked on when it is wet as it will compact the soil when it gets dry.
To know if the soil is too wet, grab a handful and clasped your palm to make the soil stick together into a ball. If they stick and does not collapse when slight pressure is apply using your thumb and finger, that would mean they are too weak for working. A compacted soil will stop root from growing.
Be careful not to walk on the soil that you have already worked on or intend to work on, as your weight will compact them even more and requires more digging. Once you found your good soil, keep them on top of the sub-good soil. When manure is added to the soil, it must be composted prior to planting, because fresh, hot manure will also burn your plants.
Only after the site has been prepared, and the soil and conditioners mixed, watered well and settled should you test the pH of the soil. You will know that you are working with the wrong soil when you get poor crops and small harvest. The nonexistence of earth worms is also an indication that your soil is not suitable as vegetable garden soil.
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