Prepare your soil before planting begins for vegetable gardens
It is beneficial to have the soil pH checked to determine if any amendments are needed. Some local garden centers will do pH tests or testing is also done at the University of Florida (fees vary) and instruction forms can be obtained at the UF/IFAS County Extension office, or by visiting bit.ly/2heHgPp.
Amending the soil: Most Florida soils benefit from applications of various forms of organic material such as manure, rotted leaves, compost and cover crops. Now is the best time to thoroughly mix liberal amounts of organics in the soil well in advance of September planting. Spread 25 to 100 pounds of compost or manure (already composted or "finished") per 100 square feet if you do not plan to use a commercial organic fertilizer. Compost can also be applied at planting time. Due to inconsistent levels of nutrients in compost, applying a balanced fertilizer can also be beneficial. If you are growing organically there are many organic fertilizers available at local sources.
See the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide at bit.ly/2vOeyY1.
Compiled by Theresa Badurek, urban horticulture extension agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. For additional landscape and garden information, visit pinellascountyextension.org. For regular tips and information about what's growing in Pinellas, go to facebook.com/PinellasExtension.