Have you been wanting to finally grow your own garden, but you just don’t have any good soil in your yard? Anything you have tried planting just won’t survive? While healthy surroundings (and especially soil) are generally imperative for a healthy garden, there are some vegetables that don’t need high-class soil to thrive. If you think there is no hope for your garden because of the state of your soil, think again.
Tomatoes are one of those veggies that can thrive in less-than-stellar soil, which is especially great news for those of us that like to have our own fresh tomatoes for salads, pizza, pasta sauce, and more. Opt for a starter plant if you can and make sure you plant them in full sun—dig deep or opt for a deep container, and water daily (unless you get a lot of rain). If you can measure the pH of your soil, know that tomatoes grow best in soil with a pH of 6 or 7; add lime to increase pH and add sulfur to decrease pH.
Members of the squash family are generally easy to grow, but zucchini is perhaps the easiest and most accommodating of all. Two plants will provide enough zucchini for one person. While zucchini isn’t particularly picky, it prefers soil with a pH of 6 or 7, if possible. Be sure to water heavily every other day and do not keep your plants in the shade (partial shade is okay). Butternut squash is another good option for poor soil.
Radishes can be grown easily in either the spring or the fall and thrive quickly once they’re off and running. While they don’t mind poor soil, radishes do need to be watered lightly every few days and will need to be pulled often.
Another underground dweller, carrots can even thrive in rocky, rough soil. No matter what type of soil you plant your carrots in, just be sure to keep the soil moist, easing off on the amount of water as the plants mature. Carrots will need sunlight for at least half the day.
There’s a reason why early North American settlers relied so heavily on corn: because it can grow almost anywhere! This resilient vegetable just needs a little space but is not particular about the soil. They do need to pollinate, so plant two rows next to each other. This also helps prevent the soil from becoming too dry. Corn really needs sunlight all day and prefers soil with a pH of around 6, if possible.
6. String Beans
String beans provide a double whammy for your poor-soil garden: not only are they easy to grow, but they also release nitrogen back into the soil, which helps improve the soil and the health of future vegetables planted there. These beans do not like the cold, so be sure to grow them in the warmer months and plant them in an area with full or partial sunlight.
This list of veggies goes to show that there is hope for the gardener who is doomed with poor soil. As long as you plant these vegetables where they prefer (e.g. full sun, partial sun) and water as needed, they will not be too finicky about the soil situation. Good luck and happy growing!