Wednesday, April 11th, 2007...3:57 am

Vegetable Gardens


TheGardenLady received this question from Bob –

Does a vegetable garden want more acidic soil or less? I was going to put lime in should I?

TheGardenLady has no idea where you live. Different areas of the country can have soil with different soil requirements.  Check out this site.

When starting a vegetable or any garden, one should first have a soil test taken of the area that you want to use. This way you are not guessing about the wants/ needs of your garden. You will know what the ph of the soil is. To test the soil, you can buy an inexpensive ph kit in your local garden center or you can go to your local Master Garden extension office and purchase a soil kit.

The Master Gardeners will explain how to use the kit. Then for a nominal amount you can buy the kit for testing the soil where your garden will be planted. The instructions will tell you to dig out little shovels of soil from all over the vegetable garden site, mix them together and put a small amount into the bag in the kit – instructions will come with the kit – and mail it to your state agricultural school, the address is on the bag. The soil will be analyzed and a letter will be sent back to you telling you what your soil requires for optimum vegetable growing. Then you will see which vegetables you want to grow and determine what amendments you need for your garden.

If you have trouble interpreting the information, you can return to the MG office and they will discuss your soil requirements with you. The Master Gardeners are all volunteers, so you will not be charged anything for their advice. Usually ph changes are done gradually. But if your soil test said you need to add lime the optimum time to do so is in the fall. It takes 3 or 4 months for the lime to break down; so if lime is put on in the fall, by spring planting time it will be ready for the plants.  But don’t add it unless you are certain that your soil needs it.  Most garden vegetables do best in soils that are slightly acid and may be injured by the application of excess lime. For this reason lime should be applied only when tests show it to be necessary.

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