Soil Nutrient & Water Management - General Information
The best soils for growing vegetables are well-drained, deep, fertile soils, with adequate levels of organic matter. Soil textures like sandy loam or loamy sand are suitable for early market crops since they are accessible to machinery and workers even when wet. Loam and silt loam soils are better suited for growing crops for later fresh-market use. Regardless of the soil type, develop a best management practices (BMP) plan for the farm, which includes a good soil management program, proper fertilization, good tillage practices, suitable crop rotations, strategies to increase organic matter, and managed irrigation. Consider integrating cover crops between vegetable plantings to maintain or improve soil structure and retain topsoil.
Many factors influence the nutrient requirements of a given vegetable. Soil textural classification, cation exchange capacity, organic matter content, and drainage are important properties that influence the nutrient needs of vegetables. Rainfall, irrigation methods and management, and environmental conditions during the growing season can alter the retention, availability, and uptake of nutrients