treating garden soil in spring - Knowledgebase Question

Syracuse, Ne
Question by JW1WISE
April 10, 2010
1.I have had a garden(25 x 25) for at least 10 years and have never added anything except some Miracle gro.My vegetable volume has gone down and I wandered if I should add compost or manure or something in april before planting in may.I have moved the plants around some.I grow broccoli,peppers,lettuce,brousel sprouts,zuchini,yellow squash,tomatoes,beans and cucumbers.Where can I get my soil tested


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Answer from NGA
April 10, 2010

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The best thing you can do for your soil is to amend it with organic material every year. Start this spring by removing all vegetation from the area and spreading 4-5 inches of organic matter over the vegetable bed. You can use compost, aged manure (fresh manure can be too hot and might contain weed seeds), shredded leaves or whatever organic matter is readily available in your local area. Dig or till this organic matter into the soil - 8-10 inches deep. Plant your veggies and mulch over the bare soil between the plants with additional organic matter. A 2-3 inch layer will help suppress weeds and slow water evaporation. At the end of the season dig the organic matter into the soil and add a fresh layer. Repeat this process annually and you'll end up with rich garden loam - and a spectacular vegetable garden. Rotating your crops is an excellent idea so keep up the good work. You can purchase a soil test kit and submit it to Cornell University via your local cooperative extension office. Download the instructions from Cornell's site:
http://cnal.cals.cornell.edu/

Hope you have a bountiful harvest!

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