Soil, air and water These components are vital for healthy plant growth and nutrient supply. In very poor soil it may be difficult to grow anything, even green manure. A pH test will tell you the measure of acidity and alkalinity in your soil, you can then adjust the pH to make more nutrients available to your plants. Mulch Light mulches will improve your soil by
Retaining moisture in the soil
Keeping the soil from overheating in hot weather
Prevent erosion from wind and rain, when crops are not present
Feeding the soil as it breaks down.
Reducing the spread of fungal disease spores
it can create habitat for soil dwelling predators e.g. Ground beetles and centipedes that control pests
Remember that mulch will use nitrogen to break down so this needs to be added if you want leafy veggies
Tips for improving your soil To improve your veggie patches you need to care for your soil, check the pH and balance the soil. Improve the structure by adding well composted manure and other materials. Look for fertilisers with trace elements listed in the contents and buy the one nearest to the requirements of the intended crop. DO NOT over water, it washes the nutrient from the soil before the plants can take it up. DO NOT over fertilise, read the pack if buying fertiliser and follow instructions, remember they want to sell more so use a bit less than they say. DO NOT let the soil become compacted, plant roots need air as well. Try Not to let the plot be empty during winter, plant a green manure crop or try winter vegies, or mulch to protect the soil during the harsh weather, and prevent erosion and nutrient depletion Try Not to plant the same things in the same place each year, give crop rotation a go it will increase the productivity of you plot.