Help needed with soil for growing vegetables

(Question)

Planted a 12 x 20 vegetable garden this spring as well as 3 raised beds, started with existing soil, added store-bought black compost and topped with premium triple mix, now looks incredibly low in nutrients. Nothing is growing except legumes.

(Answer)

How disappointing. You don’t say how much sunlight your vegetable garden gets or how often you have watered it. Amending your soil is certainly a good idea but what you amend with depends on what type of soil you have to start with. Get your soil tested could be a good place to start.

According to the City of Toronto’s Fact Sheet

 IMPROVING YOUR SOIL ORGANICALLY FOR SUCCESSFUL GARDENING, “The mineral particles in soil determine the soil texture. These are, from smallest to largest, clay, silt and sand. Sandy soils have large particles and large air spaces and drain quickly. Clay soils, with smaller particles and air spaces, retain water. The ideal soil is two parts of each sand and silt to one part clay. All soil types can be improved by adding organic matter.

The acidity (pH) of your soil also affects plant health. A neutral soil (pH of 6 or 7) is best for most plants. A simple soil test can be used to determine your soil’s pH. Lime can be added if it is too acidic (low pH) and sulphur or moistened peat moss if it is too alkaline (high pH).

You can view the fact sheet for more information on improving your soil at “Improving Your Soil Organically For Successful Gardening” at https://www1.toronto.ca/city_of_toronto/toronto_public_health/healthy_public_policy/pesticles/files/pdf/gardening_soil.pdf

In partnership with the City of Toronto, the Toronto Master Gardeners developed a series of Gardening Guides / Fact Sheets on organic gardening topics. To read the Guide on organic vegetable gardening, just click here