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Question DetailsAsked on 5/14/2016

How to start vegetable gardening?

Want to grow vegetables like cabbage, cucumber, lemon etc in my own garden. Searched various websites on gardening to get the information. Was helpful to get some info from sites like . But want more detailing regarding kind of soil used for vegetable gardening.

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You can google tons of websites - vegetable and consumer crop seed companies like Park Seed and Burpee and such (you can find more names at seed rack in your local Greenhouse, Home Improvement or Box store) have website instructions on how and when to palnt and care for various types of plants. Also planting books and guides (free and not both) commonly available where you can buy the seeds - plant center, greenhouse, home improvement store, some box stores.

You can also google your state name combined with - Cooperative Extension Service - like - Cooperative Extension Service Arkansas - for example, and you will find free planting and growing guides more pertinent to your area, including charts of the types of things that grow well in your area and the normal season for it.

For a starter, you can use rocks, landscaping or retaining wall pavers or blocks, or 1x or 2x10 or 2x12 wood to build a garden raised bed (ready to grow faster in short summer areas), or can dig out the ground a foot or so deep and put in growing soil into the ground without any frame at all - though some sort of border reduces lawn/weed intrusion.

If wood frame (2x4 feet is a nice starter size because easy to reach into from one side), you can use general purpose (the orange stuff) treated wood, or if worried about the plants possibly picking up trace elements or copper then you can use plain construction grade lumber but will typically last 2-5 years or even less rather than the 5-10 years with treated wood. You do NOT, NOT want to use any ground-contact wood with chromium or arsenic in it - like ACC, ACA, CCA, etc type letters in the treatment type because they are poisonous. In my opinion not a big issue to use a copper azeole or copper napthenate treated wood for hot frames but some people are worried about ingesting the trace amounts that will get into the plants.

For the soil, different plants like different soil, particularly the amount of peat or organics in it and the amount of sand - some like carrots and artichokes and many of the "root" plants (where you eat the root or tuber like potatoes and beets and such and also watermellons and squash) seem to love sandier soil, others like many of your broadleaf or "top-growth" plants (where you eat the above-ground part like lettuce and such) like a heavier loam, but pure sand/gravel or clay is out for almost everything. However, clayey soil can be amended with sand and peat/compost or potting soil mix to improve it, and sandy soil can have clay or fertilizers or compost added to improve it. The key is it need nutrients for the plants (either added or natural), has to be able to retain and make moisture available to the plants decently (which organic content does), and has to be loose enough that the roots penetrate well and so in-ground portions like tubers or carrots or such have room to push the soil aside to grow - so clean sandy soils, true clay, and gravelly/rocky soil commonly need a fair amount of amending help to support growth. River valley silty or organic soils generally need a lot less help or none.

Normal topsoil like would be used to start a lawn, available at many plant centers in small quantities in bags at times and usually also by the bring-your-own trailer or pickup load. Or delivery in larger quantities by Mulch and Topsoil companies normally starting at about 1-2 cubic yard amounts. (Cubic yard is 27 cubic feet, so for instance a 2x4 foot (exterior dimension) frame roughly a foot deep is about 6.5 cubic feet or about 1/4 cubic yard, and a 4x8 foot box 1 foot deep is about 29 cubic feet of fill or a bit over a cubic yard for each box. Most annual vegetables do OK in foot deep soil, though deep rooted tubers and large beets and such need more depth. Perennial plants like artichoke and berries and such generally need about twice that depth of growing medium to do well.

Generally, if you get a loam topsoil commercially, then amend it for the specific things you intend to grow in it using sand, peat, fish meal, etc as applicable, you can use a normal relatively weed-free bulk topsoil and buy the amendments in bags at plant center or box stores. For anything but smallest trial garden plot commercial bagged potting soil or garden soil gets pretty expensive, but may be cheaper than having some delivered if you need only a very small quantity - like one or maybe two 2x4' planter beds, and you do not have a vehicle able to transport it yourself.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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