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Before you start really planning what you will grow, you have to know what's going on with your soil. Order a soil-testing kit to determine the levels of acid or alkaline, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Make sure you conduct the test early enough to give yourself time to fix any problems before you find yourself with a bunch of dead plants.

If you have...
  • A pH greater than 7: You have alkaline soil. Add sulfur.
  • A pH lower than 7: You have acidic soil. Add lime.
  • Low nitrogen: Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
  • High nitrogen: Probably caused by over-fertilization; stop adding fertilizer.
  • Low phosphorus: Add superphosphate, or bone meal, to your garden soil.
  • High phosphorous: Probably caused by too much high-phosphate fertilizer. Grow plants to use up the excess.
  • Low potassium: Add wood ashes. (Be careful. This could limit the growth of any acid-loving plants.)
  • High potassium: Do not use potassium-rich fertilizers, and add nitrogen and phosphorous to help balance the soil.
Not all insects in your garden are pest 

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