Summer is my favorite time of year! Digging into the fresh dirt, the smells and the excitement of eating from my own garden and the day to day care of having my own garden can be enjoyable. Especially if you set yourself up for a successful growing season. There are a few basics that you will want to be aware of if you want to have the best garden possible. Knowing the type of soil your working with and adding the right blends to the soil can help produce a stronger plant and more produce. Because the type of soil, the climate and water you have is important. If you invest in a little extra time and money into your soil it will be well worth it. For example, if you have a mostly clay soil the ground will be harder for the roots to penetrate and the water won't absorb as well. Then the opposite would be a sandy soil that won't hold the moisture allowing both the water and nutrients to leach away from the plant. However, you can alter your soil by blending a variety of soils together and using good compost. In addition, once we know what the soil nutrient levels are we can better select fertilizers that can be beneficial. (Source: AgVerra)
Taking soil samples from time to time to monitor nutrient levels and know what is needed for your soil is simple. You can buy soil testing kits from your local nursery or contact your local or state extension department for resources. You will want to make sure that you grow plants that are vibrant and full of healthy nutrients, because what the plant uptakes, so will you when you eat it. Crop rotation is also a good practice. When I was learning to garden, I remember my grandpa telling me to move my green beans around from year to year, because the roots contained little nodules that contained nutrients that would release back into the soil. (source: University of Minnesota Extension)
Most important for our gardens is to have a minimum of 6-8 hours of sunlight daily for plants to reach full maturity. So, the location of the garden will be determined by the access to good sunshine. That is why I love to use containers such as the one picture here. Not to mention, I get to add beauty along with a variety of different shapes and sizes to my patio and landscaping.