How good is the soil in your Vegetable Garden?

 

When I first started gardening my soil was 98% sugar sand. I can remember thinking what kind of a vegetable garden is this going to be? To my surprise with some work it grew some of the nicest squash and melons I had ever tasted.
Unfortunately we cant always choose the type of soil we have. The gardening area I plant in now started out to be about 98% clay with very little organic matter. I soon learned I much preferred the sandy soil. Though the years besides tilling in the garden scraps I have also added additional organic matter which has improved the soil tremendously. So I guess the point here is you do have some control.

Getting back to the sandy soil.

When you were a kid if you ever built castles in the sand or played in a sand box-that is sandy soil. As far as I am concerned here in Upper Michigan it doesn’t get any better than that. We have a short growing season so I like to start planting as early as possible. In the spring the sand drains very fast from the melting snow and can be worked as early as the middle of April. It also absorbs heat very quickly. The biggest downfall to sand is watering. It does have to be watered a little more frequently during dry periods. Adding organic mater or green manure crops helps a lot. The sand gets so hot on the surface you cant walk on it bare foot-great for growing melons .

Clay Soil
Slippery stuff. Usually good soil but hard to work with when its wet. I have tried adding sand to it and after some time the sand just disappears to no where land. It is almost impossible to work in early spring, just too wet. I have added leaves, corncobs and tilled in some other organic mater. It has helped a lot by keeping the soil broken up. Using raised beds works well for vegetables or berries that need good drainages and also helps raise the soil temperature a little bit. One big advantage with clay soil is the watering. I have found if I plant closer together in the clay the shade from the neighboring plant will help keep the ground moist during a dry spell. It just does not dry out as fast as sand.

Loam Soil
High in organic mater and fertile, also drains well-said to be the best.

No mater what soil type you have when you are done harvesting a row in your vegetable garden- till the rest of the plant into the garden- it is a great source of organic mater.

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