By Kent Page McGroarty
Guest writer for Wake Up World
As wonderful as growing your own food is, soil quality is often an issue. While most plants and vegetables thrive in loamy, well-draining soil, amateur and pro farmers/gardeners must still contend with compact, clay soil, acidic soil, rocky soil or other soil types that are not ideal for growing food.
Luckily there are numerous options for dealing with poor soil, including adding nutrients, utilizing raised garden beds and planting vegetables that are easy to grow.
Check a few of these veggies out!
Tomatoes do well whether planted from seed or starter plants, however if you live in a cooler climate starter plants are best. Plant tomatoes in full sun and water daily unless you live in a particularly rainy area. Dig deep to create strong root systems with starter plants. Tomatoes also do well in containers. Soil with a pH balance of 6 or 7 is ideal for tomatoes; add lime to increase a soil’s pH level and sulfur to decrease it.
Perhaps the easiest food to grow, well, ever, this squash family member is frequently the subject of jokes among gardeners for its almost weed-like ability to produce the green veggie. Two plants should provide more than enough zucchini. Their flowers are also edible! Water them heavily every other day. Zucchini also does well in soil with a pH balance of 6 or 7, and thrives in full sun or partial shade. Butternut squash is another squash option that is easy to grow.
An easy root veggie to grow in the fall or spring, radishes grow quickly and will require pulling several weeks after planting to avoid ruin. Plant them in a sunny area in soil that preferably has a pH balance of 6 or 7; water lightly every few days.
The carrot does well even in rocky soil, though keep in mind the veggie itself will look crooked when pulled if grown in rocky conditions. Soil should stay moist, but remember that carrots require less water as they reach maturity. Grow carrots in soil with a pH balance of 5 to 6 if possible, and ensure they receive about half a day’s worth of sunshine.
Another easy one to grow, corn requires space more than anything else to thrive. Plant two rows parallel to one another to allow for pollination, and avoid letting the soil become too dry. A pH balance of 6 or 6.5 is best, as is a location that features “all day” sunlight.
Green or String Beans
Green or string beans not only are easy to grow, but also return nitrogen to the soil. Grow beans during warm weather as they are not fans of the cold, and harvest them while “young” for tender and sweet-tasting peas. Peas do best in soil with a pH balance of 5.8 to 7, as well as full or partial sunlight.
Try to aerate soil as much as possible before planting beets as this root veggie does best in looser soil. Add lime if your soil is too acidic, and plant seeds at least 2 inches apart. Beets grow best with half a day’s sunshine in soil with a pH balance in the 6 range.
These are just a few of the foods that do well in poorer soil! Adding compost to poor soil is generally an ideal way to get the results you want. If your soil is simply too poor to grow anything, look into container gardening and raised bed options.
About the author:
Kent Page McGroarty is a blogger for Survivalbased.com who has written extensively about health and fitness since 2006, focusing specifically on natural health and wellness. She has previously written for Livestrong, SF Gate Home and Garden, AZ Central Healthy Living (and many other online magazines and websites) and currently contributes to SlendHer.com.
Check out more of her tips on the Survivalbased Blog.