There are a lot of different soil types, climates, latitudes, rainfall levels, histories of usages. It pays to investigate your own situation.
There are some basic principles that apply to everyone who wants to grow nutrient-dense food
Be curious! As you understand more about your own place, you become more a part of it.
Dig a hole as deep as you can, just to see what is down there. Is the soil the same all the way down? Are there rocks? Is the soil on top imported (this happens frequently in suburban housing developments)? Do you run into an impermeable layer of clay or rock?
It is a good idea to know your soil type. Instructions for determining soil type are in this document:
There are some very handy resources on line to help you understand your soil and its classification. In the United States the USDA maintains a database of information on most soils that includes both its suitability for building on and its potential as agricultural land.
When we investigated our soil we found it was best suited for grazing due to the low fertility and slope. But it was also worn out from overgrazing, with an erosion gully passing through the garden. We took several soil tests over the years, and applied amendments and compost. That helped, but it always seemed like it could do better.
Then we heard about balancing the mineral content of the soil. We got the soil test and applied the recommended minerals. The results were nothing short of amazing. Our veggies tasted great! Bugs were less of a problem. Our health improved and even our hair grew.
After the first rains of the autumn, grass grows only under the oak tree, not in the open or under nearby pines
A unique growing situation in the western Sierra Mountains near Courtright Reservoir, California
The plants growing under the hoops enjoy warmer nights, cooler days and less afternoon wind.
This old road sprouts goldfields flowers while the surrounding area is mainly grassy. Compaction has created poor soil conditions for grass and good conditions for wildflowers.
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