Planting for vegetable gardens needs proper planning. The most important thing to consider while building a vegetable garden is to find the right soil.
Garden soil has to be of very good quality. Better quality soil leads to bigger harvests and more healthy food on the table.
Adding compost will help, but, any good quality soil amendments can do the job.
If you planting in containers, garden soil should never be used.
Always use high-quality potting soil. Check out this post on some great potting soil options.
For the rest of this article, we will keep our focus in the garden.
Now if you are wondering what you can add to the soil, then keep reading… Here, is our list of some of the best and inexpensive soil additives that are good for the vegetable garden.
These additives can even be added to the soil directly or mixed with the compost pile of your choice.
All of these act as nutrients and help to grow healthier plants. 🙂
These are easiest to find. Anyone can get them from the kitchen. They can be buried in the soil to increase soil productivity.
Coffee grounds are very good for the soil. They add nitrogen to the garden soil. Pouring cold coffee in the garden soil can also be beneficial to the garden.
Believe it or not, ash is considered a great addictive to the soil. You can collect ashes from your fire pit or fireplace. Then these can be added to the garden to improve its quality and productivity.
Normally, ashes benefit the soil like no other substances. But, the source of the ash should be considered and taken into account.
Charcoal ashes should not be used in gardening as these can be very harmful to the soil. This type of ash contains various harmful chemicals and other substances which can, in fact, damage the soil.
The ashes that are produced as a result of the burning of the wood, leaves and other organic materials are great for the garden. This type of ash acts as nutrients by adding potassium, sodium and other necessary elements to the soil.
Consider applying ashes to the topmost part of the soil. They can deter pests and keep the crops protected from insects and bugs. But you will want to keep the ashes dry. So add smaller amounts at a time when needed.
Also, the ashes can increase the pH of the soil, so the quantity of ash added should be calculated and considered thoroughly. Most vegetables need a pH of 6 or so.
Cardboard papers or newspapers:
Old newspapers or cardboard can be useful in the garden too. Whether they are shredded or the laid flat.
They help to prevent weeds and decompose to add nutrients to the soil. Paper is recommended for small garden plants.
This is actually charcoal but made up of organic materials. Biochar is the charcoal that is made in low temperature by the process of slow flaming of many organic materials such as the wood, bone or even manure.
Biochar is effectively used as a soil additive in many countries for centuries. It provides many essential benefits to the vegetable gardens.
Biochar helps the soil to retain all necessary nutrients as well as water. It reduces the usage of fertilizer. It also can increase the pH level of the soil.
Bone and Blood meal:
Though these elements sound quite disturbing, they are very healthy additives for garden soil. Bone meal, that is made up of animal bones are very effective additives. The bones are ground into powder.
This substance is very beneficial for vegetable gardens. This is because of all of the essential minerals present inside the bones such as the calcium, phosphorous and magnesium. These are broken down and eventually released into the soil.
The blood meal is dried, as well as a powdered form of animal blood. It is an outstanding source of high-quality nitrogen. But beware that excessive nitrogen can damage the plants.
Knowing optimum levels or amounts of nitrogen that are to be applied is essential. Roughly, 10 pounds of blood meal in every 100 square feet is enough for nitrogen-deficient vegetables.
Also note that these are toxic products. So bone and blood meal should be kept out of reach of small children. Store them in a safe place.
Eggshells or seashells are also helpful for the plants as they slowly increase the calcium content of the soil.
So there you have it, our simple tips for better soil to increase your harvest.