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Importance and preparation of the soil

Vegetable Garden - Cabbages.
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Lise Servant)  

Importance of the soil

Crop quality greatly depends on soil composition. The ideal soil is balanced, well-drained, fertile and with a pH (acidity level) situated between 6 and 7. Adding lime corrects the pH for soil that is too acidic (soil analysis required). Sandy soil is too barren in organic matter, and clay soil is too heavy and compact. It is therefore important to add decomposed manure or compost which, in addition to improving soil structure and composition, will supply nutritive elements required by the plants.

Soil preparation

Turn the soil over in the fall (about 20 cm deep), to even and lighten it and get rid of the rocks, roots and weeds. Then cover with a thin coat of well-decomposed manure or compost.

Hoe the top 3 or 4 centimetres of soil early in the spring to lighten the surface layer and to blend it with organic matter spread the previous fall. Remove harmful weeds as well. It is recommended not to work the soil when it is wet since the resulting compacting will harm soil quality. Adding biological-type fertilizers based on seaweed, bone meal or other organic products is recommended to produce good crops.

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