Vegetable Garden Planning - Knowledgebase Question

Alameda, CA
Question by bnordstrom
January 13, 1998
How do I make sure I prepare the soil properly for the multitude of vegetables that I will be growing? I have raised garden beds and need to know what to put in them.


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Answer from NGA
January 13, 1998

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Since you're just starting out, be sure to put your vegetable garden in the sunniest location possible. Most vegetables need full sunshine all season. Exceptions are leafy crops and some root crops with leafy tops.

Fill your raised bed areas with a 3-way commercial topsoil or make your own sandy loam by mixing one part soil, one part sand and one part compost or peat moss. Vegetable crops like light, loose soil that the roots can easily penetrate, and that will retain moisture. You might do well to have the pH of your soil tested. Most vegetables prefer a soil in the 6.0 to 7.5 range. Anything too far above or below this pH measurement will lock up nutrients and make them unavailable to plants.

When you begin to plant your seeds, read the label and make sure they're planted at the right depth. Thin the seedlings as they grow, spacing them well and keeping only the biggest, most vigorous plants. Monitor their water needs; plan to apply one-inch of water per week to your vegetables. Keep weeds down by pulling or hoeing - or eliminate weeds by mulching around your plants with compost or other organic matter.

Watch for insects or disease problems and hand-pick insects or pinch off diseased leaves. Your diligence will be rewarded when you harvest your luscious veggies all summer!

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