Successful gardens need time and love, and they can also be helped out by a few special ingredients. Their success starts with the soil they are planted in. Here in North Carolina, the most common soil you might run into is heavy and dense - a clay soil. Usually red or orange in color, if you have this soil where you want your garden, it is advisable to amend it, or improve it. You may also have a sandier soil, which drains well, but could benefit from organic matter that helps your plants hold onto nutrients.
A few of my garden essentials are the following:
Black Kow - Black Kow is a cow manure that helps provide long-lasting nutrition for your plants. It helps aerate heavier soils like clay, like all organic matter. If your soil is still very heavy, it may additionally benefit from peat moss or even sand.
Espoma Organic Fertilizer - I’ve used almost every variety of this organic fertilizer right before planting, and it has made a world of difference in my plants. They have one called Garden-tone for vegetables, and Tomato-tone for tomatoes, but I additionally use different ones formulated for flowers or my evergreen plants that help them beautifully. If you are already mixing in some compost, or manure, that’s also a great time to add it!
A good site: this is arguably the most important part of your garden. Most fruiting vegetables, such as tomatoes, or squash, will need 8 hours of sun to help them reach their maximum output. Root vegetables that are more common in the fall can tolerate less sun and grow better in cooler weather. If you just want leafy greens for salads, spinach and lettuces can get by with just 4-5 hours of sun, but they will be more productive if exposed to more.
Additionally, you may want to test your soil pH if you are not having success. Some plants, like blueberries, benefit from a more acidic soil, while others struggle.
If you don’t have space to garden outdoors, container gardens or patio gardens also have the potential to do extremely well! You can buy potting soil made specifically for vegetables. Check out my earlier post on easy vegetables to grow for ideas.