Achieving the Best Organic Soil Mix for Organic Home Vegetable Garden
Organic gardening seems to be all the hype now. I agree. Vegetables, organically grown, have such an amazing burst of fresh flavor, full of vitamins, and are safer from chemicals than store boughten varieties. After experiencing the quality and taste difference between fresh home- grown organic veggies and supermarket produce-department veggies, fresh organic is worth the time and effort.
Taking important first steps for organic gardening helps ensure the quality of your plants and produce. First determine what you will be growing and where. Are you using pots, buckets, raised plant beds, fixed area garden or a combination? For ground gardens, you should determine your soils ph balance and go from there on what to add to your garden soil. The soil for your potted garden can be mixed or purchased premixed but once again depends on what you intend to grow as for the ph balance needed for your soil.
There are various ‘recipes’ for best organic soil mix for organic home vegetable gardens. Several companies offer bagged premixed organic soil for gardening. Choosing the proper soil mix for your garden isn’t really difficult. The dirt in your vegetable garden should have a pH rating of approximately 6.8 and should be relatively low in nitrogen sources. Soil samples measure not only the pH level and nitrogen, but include levels of phosphorous, potassium, calcium and other trace elements. What you add to your soil for preparation to garden will depend upon the results of the soil sample.
Organic matter used to add to soil include lime (limestone dust and sand) for acidity reduction while sulfur (charcoal or wood ash) is added to alkaline soils. Compost is the best fertilizer for organic gardens. Egg shells, veggie peels, coffee grounds, leaves and grass clippings are great additives which help aerate the soil and give worms room to work their marvelous wonders in the soil. Horse, cow or sheep manure are organic fertilizers that can easily be obtainable from farmers and usually for free. Horse and cow manure work well but will produce weeds from weed seed in the manure. Sheep manure will help give you a more weed free garden as the sheep don’t eat and pass the weed seed as much as other animals. If you choose to add manure for fertilizer, make sure to allow the soil to rest for a couple of weeks between fertilizing and planting. It is best to recheck the pH balance before actually planting.
A soil sample which shows dirt is nitrogen rich can be very problematic for vegetarians. Nitrogen sources include bone meal (a slaughterhouse byproduct), fish emulsion (a fish processing byproduct), and cottonseed meal (indicates heavy pesticide use and crystallized urea or animal urine). If the soil is rich in nitrogen, it is best to plant a nitro-fixing crop the first year such as legumes, beans or peas, and plant other veggies in the area the second year. A soil rich in calcium is good for tomatoes. Tomatoes seem to love a calcium enriched diet.
Good organic gardening soil should look, feel and smell good. Whether the soil is purchased at the gardening shop and placed in a garden plot or pots, or whether you are adjusting your yard soil, a good organic vegetable gardening soil is easily obtainable and worth your effort. This first step towards putting out your vegetable garden will help ensure the quality and taste of your produce. When creating the organic garden soil, one is creating the plants environment and food source for the season. You can always add later, but only if the plants have survived from the beginning. There are many recipes for organic gardening soil. One of the most reliable, classic and with easily obtainable ingredients is as follows: 1/3 mature compost or leaf mold (screened), 1/3 garden topsoil and 1/3 sharp sand.