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How to grow organic Broad beans
How to grow organic Broccoli
How to grow organic Brussels sprouts
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How to grow organic Carrot
How to grow organic Cauliflower
How to grow organic Celeriac
How to grow organic Celery
How to grow organic Celtuce
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How to grow organic Chicory
How to grow organic Corn
How to grow organic Cucumbers and Gherkins
How to grow organic Endive
How to grow organic Florence fennel
How to grow organic French beans
How to grow organic Garlic
How to grow organic Globe artichokes
How to grow organic Jerusalem artichokes
How to grow organic Kale and borecole
How to grow organic Kohl rabi
How to grow organic Komatsuna
How to grow organic Land cress
How to grow organic Leaf beet
How to grow organic Leeks
How to grow organic Lettuce
How to grow organic Mizuna
How to grow organic Mustard greens
How to grow organic New Zealand spinach
How to grow organic Onions
How to grow organic Parsnips and Hamburg Parsley
How to grow organic Peas
How to grow organic Peppers (hot and sweet)
How to grow organic Potatoes
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How to grow organic Runner beans
How to grow organic Salad onions
How to grow organic Salsify, Scorzonera and Scolymus
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How to grow organic Shallots
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How to grow organic Squash
How to grow organic Swede
How to grow organic Texsel greens
How to grow organic Tomatoes
How to grow organic Turnips
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pH preferences of food crops
by Frann Leach
Different crops flourish at different levels of acidity, though few enjoy a very acid or very alkaline soil. This table sets out preferred pH for different crops.
The best way to find out the pH level of your soil is by taking samples from different areas and using a soil test kit. You can also get soil testing meters, but many professional gardeners feel that these are unreliable.
Plants as indicatorsFor a broad indication of the soil conditions, an examination of the weeds growing on a plot will give you quite a lot of information, not just on acidity/alkalinity, but other things as well:
Acid soil: Dock, thistle, daisy, plantain, creeping buttercup, heather, rhododendron, azalea and camellia.
Alkaline soil: Clover, campion, beech. Acid-loving plants may show yellow patches on the leaves.
Badly-drained land: Rushes, sedges, moss or green slime on the surface.
Waterlogged, poorly ventilated: Cocksfoot (Ranunculus), goosegrass (Potentilla anserina), cornmint (Mentha arvensis), knotgrass (Polygonum), coltsfoot (Tussilago) and horsetail (Equisetum arvense).
Fertile soil: Nettles, fat hen, sow thistle, chickweed (Stellaria media), groundsel, harebell, pheasant's eye (Adonis vernalis) and larkspur (Delphinium).
Deep fertile soil: Charlock (Sanapis arvensis), field poppy (Papaver rhoeas), deadnettle (Lamiastrum), lesser bindweed (Convolvulus) and speedwell (Veronica).
Heavy soil, not dry: Orach (Atriplex patula), foxtail (Amaranthus retroflexus) and cocksfoot (Ranunculus).
Nitrogenous, plenty of iron: Stinging nettles, black nightshade (Solanum nigrum) and fumitory.
Very nitrogenous, possibly over-fertilised: Annual stinging nettle.
Deficient, usually as a result of fire: Rose bay willow herb.
Poor soil: Weeds tend to flower and seed as quickly as they can, groundsel in particular, which will germinate, flower and seed in a metter of weeks in the poorest soil conditions. In good soil, it will grow several inches tall and produce plenty of green leaf before it flowers.