Soil and Climate

A successful crop depends on how well adapted your plant species are to your climate and soil. You need to know a few basics before you start such as your latest frost date and general climate.

Your soil is defined by your geographic location, but also through its particular history. What purpose did the area you want to use for your food crop have in the past? Foot traffic, a waterspout, earlier plants. surrounding trees; they all have an impact on the soil. Have a look at the soil and feel it with your fingers. Is it loose, moist, compact or sticky?  There are many online guides to help to figure out your soil type but, if you are unsure and want more specifics, you can send a soil sample to a local cooperative extension for analysis.

Hot Conditions

Tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber, zucchini, squash, peppers, okra, peanuts, oregano, thyme, sage, etc. Plus drought and heat-resistant varieties of corn, beans, onions, etc. The soil need to be kept moist, preferably with drip irrigation.

 Cool Conditions

Kale, broccoli, lettuce, parsley, cilantro, scallions, basil, garlic, onions, mustard greens, chard, spinach, parsnips, potatoes, arugula, carrots, beets, beans, peas, bok choy, potatoes, fennel, chives and many others.

Loam Soil

Nutrient-rich airy soil, or soil mixed with compost, is good for almost all common vegetables, such as root vegetables, carrots and beets and leafy vegetables. This soil also benefits most fruit producing shrubs and trees.

Clay Soil

Clay soil is good for cabbage and broccoli, cherry, pear, maple, and black walnut trees. Edible herbs, including yarrow and red valerian, also benefit from it. Clay soil needs to be kept moist or mixed with sand to avoid compaction.

Sandy Soil

Root vegetables grow well in sandy soil, but will need some nutrients, in the form of compost, to be added. Pomegranate and fig trees and Mediterranean herbs also like sandy well-drained soil and need very little nutrients.

Finally, be aware of the humidity. Many species are susceptible for diseases that are more common in humid conditions. Areas with high humidity generally suffer more from pest. If you live in a high humidity area, make sure your vegetable plot has ample ventilation and use species that are resistant to humidity related diseases.