Books for plant nutrition

Asked November 29, 2015, 4:08 PM EST

I was curious to know if there are any specific books that you would recommend that provide very specific information on (mostly edible) plants, including soil type, pH, nutrition requirements, light requirements, scientific names, families etc Thank you for any suggestions. Cheers, Joseph Vaught

Washington County Oregon

1 Response

It sounds as if you are a home gardener who wants to “get everything perfect.” If so, you need to know that the basics are less complex than you suspect. I’m pleased to see that your question covers more than just fertilizer because light conditions and seasonal planting dates are also important.

If your plants are having specific problems, perhaps failure to thrive, it would be wise to start your research by talking with the Washington County Master Gardeners to explain your situation, what you did to prepare the soil, what you planted and when, and how the planting did. Be certain to mention fertilizers you used, if any, your watering practices, and any remedies you may have tried. The Master Gardener office is in the Public Services Building, Suite 200, 155 N. First Ave., Hillsboro, 97124; or call 503-821-1150, extension 2. Hours weekdays 9 to noon and 1 to 4; closed holidays; open year-round.

Here are some university-written publications that will help you garden successfully in the Portland metro area:

- “Growing Your Own” is an overview of growing vegetables in Oregon with a detailed planting chart on page 7. We’re in Region 2.

- “Vegetable Gardening in Oregon“

- “Fall and Winter Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest”

- “Short-Season Vegetable Gardening”

- “Fertilizing Your Garden: Vegetables, Fruits, and Ornamentals” is much more detailed than the above.

A suitable soil pH for vegetables ranges from 5.8 to 6.5 which can be maintained by mixing lime into the soil every 2 or 3 years, the amount according to label directions. If you want to be more precise, obtain a professional soil test. To do so, contact A & L Agricultural Labs (503.968.9225) where a basic test is about $40. Phone the lab to learn how they prefer you sample the soil, also to obtain the address to send/take the sample. Tell them the test is for a home garden and you also need recommendations.