Garden / June 26, 2018 / .
The ideal soil type for growing most crops is loam, the rich halfway point between clay and sandy soils. If you are not sure which soil type you have, hold some in the palm of your hand, wet it and try to make a ball. If it forms a tight, hard wad, then you have lots of clay in your soil. If you can not form a ball, you have sand. If the ball forms but pretty easily breaks apart, you probably have loam. No matter which type you have, you can improve both your soils structure and fertility by working compost into the top layer each year. Those with really limited space can take heart in knowing there are effective composting options suitable for even the smallest of spaces.
Vegetables need a good 6 or more hours of sun each day. Without sun, the fruits will not ripen and the plants will be stressed. Even if you are sun challenged, there are a few vegetables that can survive in light shade, lettuce and other greens, broccoli and cole crops. Vegetables also require regular watering.
Without regular water, vegetables will not fill out and some, like tomatoes, will crack open if suddenly plumped up with water after struggling without for awhile. You can not always rely on rain. If you have the means, a drip irrigation system is a definite plus for a vegetable garden. The new component systems are really quite easy to install and cost a lot less than most people think. And you will save money on water, because it goes directly to the plants roots. Less is lost to evaporation.
If your gardening space is big enough for raised beds, they can be a great way to maximize space and effort. Not only can raised beds accommodate more plants per square foot, but gardening in a raised bed greatly reduces the need to weed. It also makes weeds much easier to uproot throughout the season, which can be a real blessing for your back.