Which vegetables to grow according to the soil type?

Every vegetable has soil preferences.

So some vegetables will prefer light soil, while others will thrive in heavy soil.

Likewise, slightly acidic soils are well suited to some species, while others do not tolerate acidity but adapt to limestone.

That is why today we are going to look at which vegetables we should grow according to the soil type…

Or, more accurately, the ones most likely to succeed, without adjusting the bottom.

Because with the right adjustments, anything is possible.

My first vegetable garden was made in clay and acidic soil (yes…clay soils are not necessarily calcareous). The second in a loamy, limestone soil. And the one I’m growing today is on sandy-loamy, slightly calcareous soil…

In these 3 vegetable gardens I have grown all kinds of vegetables, mostly with success, simply by adapting my farming practices to the characteristics of the land in question (for example, the preparation of the soil will not be done at the same time, nor exactly in the same way, depending of whether the soil is heavy or light; likewise, any organic amendments and fertilizers in particular will depend on texture and PH).

But that’s another story, I’ll tell you in My Natural Vegetable Garden)

Which vegetables grow according to the texture of the soil?

We have already discussed the different soil textures in previous articles (to see in more detail the essential characteristics of these different soil types and approach them in the best possible way, I invite you to click on the links, in blue , below displayed).

We therefore focus here on the adaptability of different types of vegetables to a particular type of soil.

sandy soils

Sandy soils are light, easy to work and loose, but poor soils.

So it will be necessary to enrich this country.

So with a good supply of mature compost (i.e. perfectly digested), or better yet, thanks to regular contributions of various organic matter, root vegetables (carrots, radishes, beets, turnips, celeriac…) grows easily in soil.

The peas and beans as light soils. They are also crops that are not very greedy. Sandy soils will therefore suit them perfectly.

And apart from these naturally adapted species, fruiting vegetables and leafy vegetables on a sufficiently enriched sandy soil can yield very good harvests…

In addition, due to the ability to easily warm up, sandy soils allow early (or early) crops.

clay soils

Clay soils do not heat up well, but they retain the organic matter well.

fruit vegetable (tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, eggplant, bell pepper, zucchini, various types of squash), greedy in terms of fertilization, appreciate clay soils. However, because these soils do not warm up well, it is better not to sow or plant these vegetables too early in the season, when the soil is still cold.

The artichokes, cabbage, salads, leeks, chard, rhubarb, spinach or sorrel will bloom there.

Peas and beans will adapt to heavy soils, provided they have loosened it well. And there too it is better that the soil is warm enough to sow these vegetables (this is especially true for beans that do not like cold soil at all).

You will often read or hear that root vegetables, especially carrots, do not like clay soils… that is not true! It will certainly be necessary to loosen the soil well so that the roots can develop well there (the Campagnole is ideal for this); but you can then make great harvests of carrots or other root vegetables.

loamy soils

Loamy soils are intermediate soils, in which all vegetables can be grown without any problems…

This does not mean that a loamy soil cannot be fed…

Which vegetables to grow according to PH?

The PH measures the acidity or alkalinity of a soil (in My Natural Vegetable Garden I present you very simple tests to do yourself, to determine whether the soil in your garden is acidic, neutral or calcareous).

The ideal PH for each plant (not only vegetables, but also berries and some aromatics) is highlighted in blue in the following table.

We are talking about here Ideal pH

A deviation of 1 PH point from this data is normally not too problematic (for example, you can perfectly grow potatoes with a PH of 7.5…). But the further you go from this PH, the more delicate the cultivation can be (for example, in soil with a PH of 8 or more, growing fennel will prove to be delicate if you don’t do anything to lower this pH a little bit).

5 5.5 6 6.5 7 7.5 8
Fennel, rosemary
Endive, parsley, potato, gooseberry
Asparagus, basil, carrot, zucchini, shallot, sorrel, pepper, sage, strawberry, raspberry, currant
cauliflower, corn
Broccoli, chives, pumpkin, cucumber, watercress, turnip, radish, thyme, rhubarb
Garlic, tomato
Artichoke, beetroot, celery, green and red cabbage, pumpkin, spinach, beans, lettuce, onion, leek, peas

Note, however, that with the necessary adjustments, the possibilities can be expanded, either by slightly lowering the PH or by increasing it:

  • A soil that is too acidic can be improved by adding limestone improvers (wood ash, lithothamnium, dolomite… I do not recommend lime) and organic fertilizers rich in calcium.
  • On the contrary, a calcareous soil benefits from green manures such as mustard… On the other hand, fertilizers and fertilizers rich in calcium should of course be avoided. But why not test an RCW of conifers in particular (which is generally not recommended) to slightly acidify a soil that is too calcareous?


In ecological spirit, our goal is to respect nature and what it offers us as much as possible.

For example, some permaculturists argue that we should be content with what the soil in our garden allows us to cultivate.

It’s a defensible position…

But I don’t share that.

Why ?

Simply because a very acidic soil (which is, incidentally, often the result of disastrous cultural practices…), or, on the contrary, very calcareous, is not conducive to the development of life in the soil.

Just like extremely clay or sandy soil…

Therefore, it seems to me quite reasonable to adapt such a land, of course with natural materials, with the dual purpose of promoting life there… and growing vegetables there that we appreciate, but which would not thrive without these adaptations. develop. , and even desirable.

What do you think ?