In actuality, the only time that one would use potting soil for a vegetable garden is when it is a container garden. What is usually used in a vegetable garden bed is soil amendments, such as compost or humus, added to regular garden soil to provide the nutrients that vegetables need to grow, and improve drainage and fertility. It is very possible, however, to grow a vegetable garden in containers, where the best potting soils would then be desired.
Potting Soil for Container Grown Vegetables
A good potting soil mixture for vegetables grown in containers consists of equal parts peat moss, compost and builder's sand. The compost provides nutrients that your vegetables will need and builds disease resistance in your plants. The peat moss stores nutrients and releases them slowly, as well as retaining moisture for your vegetables to use as needed, too. Peat moss is sterile, so it makes a good component for moisture retention and aeration when growing vegetables in containers. Builder's sand improves the drainage of the container and prevents soil compaction. Vegetables that do well in containers include lettuce, cucumber, peppers, cabbage, tomatoes, squash, potatoes and strawberries.
Nutrient Rich Soil for Vegetable Garden Beds
The best soil for a vegetable garden bed contains plenty of organic matter, to improve soil fertility, structure and texture, and increase biological activity, which in turn, increases plant productivity and produces higher plant yields. To prepare the vegetable garden bed, turn in 1 to 2 inches of compost or up to four inches of raw organic material into the soil. Compost serves as a complete organic fertilizer that contains all of the main nutrients that vegetable plants need. It may also be applied as a top dressing throughout the season to replenish nutrient-depleted soil.
Ideal Garden Loam for Vegetable Garden Beds
The ideal garden loam contains 40 percent humus, 40 percent sand, and 20 percent clay, to create a good soil texture that has a gritty, greasy feel, when squeezed between thumb and forefinger, but not too slippery. The fineness or coarseness of the soil determines the amount of water retention and air circulation within the soil and has an effect on soil fertility as well.