This weekend we filled the veggie bed with soil to complete the project, woo hoo!
Soil is very important for vegetable growth. Since vegetables are heavy feeders and quite finicky, they will protest by churning out smaller fruits or thinner stalks and leaves. So make sure the soil you choose for vegetables, is not the potting soil which is the standard for most perennials, annuals and flowers.
Vegetable Soil - This needs to be a good mix of planting soil, compost and fertilizer. I prefer using organic choices of these simply because these are fruits and vegetables that we will be eating. The good planting soil choices will already be a mix of soil, compost and fertilizer. You will still need to add compost when you make your bed, and keep adding compost and fertilizer ever so often. Don’t make the mistake of thinking once you add the right soil, you’re done. You will need to keep amending the soil according to changing requirements of the plants. This is because the plants you sow will suck the nutrients from the soil, unless you add the nutrients, there will not be any left for the plants to live on.
Fertilizers - The main nutrients fertilizers provide are nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), potassium (K). When the label on your fertilizer bag reads 40-40-20, it is the N, P, K value they are referring to. You will need to do a soil analysis to make the amendment your soil requires. Since this is the beginning of the vegetable bed, I went the route of using a mixed bag. I suggest EB Stone Organics.
Compost – Compost comes in various forms – the organic ones are alphalpha meal, blood meal, fish emulsion, cottonseed meal and cattle manure. Interestingly enough, using only cattle manure doesn’t provide as much nutrients as the others. I used Garden Valley – Planting Compost, it is a mix of perlite, sand, organic humus, manure, and other things.
If you have access to a local nursery AND have a truck (for transporting the bulk soil), I would suggest trying out their local compost and planting soil. Usually nurseries have a great blend and most make their own (well they should, its their job to grow great plants for customers).
If you'd like to know how we made the vegetable bed itself, please click on this link