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Vegetable Gardening Hints, Issue #045
March 06, 2012

Getting soil ready for planting.

The goal of organics is to nourish and maintain life in the soil. I always compare it to our bodies. If we feed ourselves healthy food and water, get enough sleep and exercise we will stay healthy, if all we eat is junk food, and do not take care of ourselves we will more likely get sick. Healthy soil equals healthy plants.

Till or no till?

Tilling is the general term for soil preparation, which includes working the soil, turning under green manures, lime, fertilizers, and other organic matter. Machines can be used or it can be done by hand if the area is small.

    Benefits of tilling:

  • Aerate soil
  • Breaks up soil compaction
  • Aid the soil structure
  • Improves drainage
  • Extends crop rooting depth
  • Helps deepen the topsoil which increase soil fertility
  • Makes nutrients more available to plant roots

    Disadvantages of tilling:

  • Usually need some kind of equipment, rototiller, tractor
  • Can destroy soil structure and organisms in the soil

    Benefits of no till:

  • Soil structure continues to improve as it is not disturbed. Weeds are pulled or hoed in. Organic matter is put on as mulch to suppress weeds and will decompose to enhance soil fertility.
  • Grow green manures, mow and leave them as mulch.
  • Earthworms are not disturbed. Use straw as mulch and the earthworms will come out in droves.

    Disadvantages of no till:

  • In wetter climates mulching can attract slugs.
  • Lots of mulch is needed and can be expensive.

For more info check out

soil preparation.

Soil needs nutrient and amendments:

Crops deplete the topsoil, so nutrients must be replaced from deep in the subsoil or by adding mineral fertilizers and organic matter.

  • Nitrogen – alfalfa meal, alfalfa pellets blood meal, compost, fish emulsion
  • Phosphorus – bone meal, rock phosphate (slow release)
  • Potassium – greensand, kelp meal, sulpomag (sulfate of potash magnesium) or langbeinite (slow release)
  • Soil needs trace amounts of 13 or more other elements.

For more info go to fertlizers.

Adding organic matter.

  • Is and important source for plant nutrients.
  • Helps to retains easily leached nutrients such as nitrogen.
  • Allows the nutrients in the mineral portion of the earth more available to the plants.

March is the month for getting your soil ready and if there is not frost start to plant your potatoes and peas.

Check out this link for pictures on how we made our raised beds.

My new ebooks will help with your planning, check them out.


Why is Soil so Important is a new ebook to help in planning to get your soil ready for next year's garden.

My 2012 Vegetable Garden Journal is a full package planning/journal book. You get the dates that are best for planting above and below ground crops, tips on how to grow 25 common vegetables, as well as tonnes more info to create a successful garden.

2012 Vegetable Planting Calendar gives you the best dates to plant your vegetable garden by the moon cycles. Learn more about planting by the moon cycles

All will make for wonderful winter reading and will assist in planning for next season. These are perfect gifts for any gardeners on you Christmas list as well.

Other vegetable gardening books written by Catherine Abbott, Your Vegetable Gardening Helper.

Please contact me
with your comments and suggestions.

If you have enjoyed this ezine please tell a friend.

Welcome to the world of vegetable gardening!


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