5 Tips To Improve Soil Health For Vegetable Gardens

Growing a vegetable garden is a fun and rewarding experience that frees you from the clutches of your grocery store. Rather than making a special trip to purchase lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, etc., you can step into your garden and pick it fresh. Of course, this is just one of the many reasons why so many people prefer to grow their own veggies.

Vegetables, like most other plants rely heavily on nourished soil to grow. Failing to provide your vegetables with the proper soil may result in slow growth while leaving them susceptible to disease and illness.

#1) Check The pH Level

When was the last time you checked your vegetable garden’s pH level? The truth is that most gardeners overlook this critical step, assuming their soil is safe and suitable for healthy plant growth.

Use either an electric or disposable strip test to measure the pH level in your vegetable garden. If it’s too acidic or too alkaline, add the appropriate fertilizer to adjust it.

#2) Compost

Composting is another simple yet highly effective way to improve the soil in a vegetable garden. What exactly is compost? In short, it’s nutrient-rich organic matter that adds valuable minerals, vitamins and other beneficial nutrients to the soil.

You can read our previous blog post here for more details on how to start a home compost bin.

#3) Fertilize

We can’t talk about ways to improve soil health without mentioning fertilizing. While there are dozens of different brand and varities available, nearly all of them focus on three essential nutrients: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) – the three nutrients required for healthy, sustainable plant growth. Adding fertilizer to your vegetable garden boosts the soil’s nutritional value, which in turn leads to bigger, healthier vegetable plants

#4) Water

A vegetable garden’s soil should consist of approximately 25% water. The water seeps down into the soil where plants gradually absorb it through their root systems. If the soil in your vegetable garden feels arid and dry, however, it may lack the necessary moisture content for healthy plant growth. This problem is easily fixed by watering both the plant and surrounding soil.

#5) Clean It Up

A fifth tip for improving the health of soil in a vegetable garden is to clean it up. Get your gardening boots on and go through the first 4" or so of soil, removing any large stones, branches or decaying plant matter you find. It’s okay to leave small pebbles mixed in the soil, but you should pull out large ones that may hinder your plant’s root development.