You can grow a vegetable garden anywhere in any soil (or none) and in almost any climate without the need for adding any soil amendments by simply controlling the following six laws of plant growth as taught in the Mittleider Method Gardening Course:
1. Light is the most important factor to control – and more specifically sun light. Vegetable plants require at least 6 hours of sun light per day – 10 hours is even better if possible. Avoid planting in shady spots (structures, trees, even taller vegetables).
2. Next is temperature. Plants prefer between 55 and 85 degrees farenheit depending on their stage of growth. This may require some additional protection in the early and late season such as covering your plants with plastic.
3. Plants need air. Plants receive carbon, oxygen and hydrogen from the air but mainly through their roots. Good drainage is a must. Plants sitting in water can drown in a fairly short time. Drainage problems can be solved by raising the planting area of your soil beds slightly higher than the surrounding aisles.
4. Plants are over 80% water and it must always be available to the roots. Soil should be moist but not wet (remember plants need air). Letting the soil completely dry out will slow production and reduce yield. Learn about the best irrigation method for watering vegetables along with illustrated plans here.
5. Make sure plants have sufficient nutrition all the time. Besides the 3 elements plants receive from the air there are 13 other elements that plants must have for food – 3 major: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K); 3 secondary: calcium, sulfur, and magnesium; and 7 trace elements: zinc, boron, manganese, iron, copper, chloride, and molybdenum. Providing small amounts weekly throughout the garden season (as opposed to all up front) will prevent soil toxicity and increase yield by giving the plants just what they need when they need it.
6. Control the competition. This includes weeds, insects, animals and disease. Weed early and often. Reduce pests through proper cultural practices – clean, dry surroundings, weed-free beds, don’t use mulch (it has proven to be a negative return on investment), proper plant spacing and pruning (also helping reduce diseases). Keeping your vegetable plants healthy through proper pruning, spacing and nutrition (i.e. following the laws of plant growth) will help prevent disease as healthy plants will resist diseases naturally.
Keeping these laws in mind as you garden will greatly improve your success in any soil and almost any climate. Happy Gardening!