Dear Claire: What are Some Tips for Planting a Backyard Vegetable Garden? - Paris Group Realty, LLC Portland OR
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Dear Claire: What are Some Tips for Planting a Backyard Vegetable Garden?

Starting Your Backyard Vegetable Garden: Essential Tips for Soil Testing and Planting Success

I’m talking today about vegetables and I wish I could show you ours. We have an office vegetable garden in the back, which is pretty cool. Our question today is about what are the few things that I should know about when I’m starting my backyard vegetable garden? Number one is if it’s been a vegetable garden for a while, you’re going to want to test the soil. They’re super easy to get for around $20. You can pick up at your local nursery. Portland Nursery or Garden Fever have them and I think they’re around $12 there. You mix oil with water and then you put this little tablet of colored powder in it. Then it tells you how much phosphorus, nitrogen, and potash is in your soil. Those are the three main things that you need for your plants grow. The test is not really exact but it’s good enough for a backyard garden. I tested the soil before I put the vegetable garden in at the office and that literally had no nitrogen in the soil at all. This was expected because I typically plant tomatoes there and tomatoes are a super feeder, so they take a lot out of soil and leaving soil bankrupt. I ended up adding a bunch of bat guano to the soil and they seem to be doing really well.

If you just moved in to a new place and you never had a garden there, and never have any of the soil tested, you might want to actually mail it in for professional testing. Local universities, specifically OSU, because they are an agriculture university, can test for all kids of stuff. Arsenic is something that you want to watch out for, as well as lead. There are all kinds of toxins that can be in the soil that you don’t want in your vegetables. In this case what a lot of people for a new garden is build an above-ground bed and put new, clean fill, dirt in there with new compost – you know where it sourced from for your vegetable garden.

Keep all of your questions coming because I love talking about all these random things. Also, let me know if you have any other additional questions about home ownership and selling – I’m here for you. I hope

Talk to you soon.

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