how to build soil to retain all the nutrients needed for growth of vegetables and other plants in my vegetable garden?
Sussex County Delaware
Thank you for your question. Healthy soils are important for growing vegetables. The addition of organic matter such as compost and cover crops help improve soils. Soil testing is a valuable tool to determine the pH of the soil and quantity of nutrients needed for the vegetables you are growing. If the pH is too low or high, nutrients in the soil may not be readily available to the plant you are growing. Compost will improve clay soil to help with drainage and improves the water holding capacity for sandy soils. If you have not had your soil tested, I recommend doing this so you know where you are starting and can be given recommendations for specific vegetables you plan to grow. Healthy soils are an on-going process. Soil test a minimum of every three years. Fall is a good time to soil test as it will allow any amendments, if needed, to help improve the soil for planting in the spring. For more information on preparation of soils for a vegetable garden refer to: http://www.extension.org/pages/13419/soil-preparation-of-the-vegetable-garden ; http://extension.udel.edu/lawngarden/1864-2/lawn-garden/starting-a-garden/ Vegetable Gardening is fun. Enjoy!