The question to ask is what are the economical methods of increasing soil fertility. And here in this forum, of course, we are concerned with methods that are best for the environment.
If cost is no object to you, say for example if you have a small backyard garden, then get a bulldozer, remove all the existing soil, and put back in the soil you want. This is not quite as extreme idea as it might appear. If you live in a house that’s been inhabited for decades, there’s a fairly good chance the previous owners just dumped turpentine, gas, cleaners and other toxins straight off the back porch. Even today, many people see chemicals as “their friends”. Many mechanics and craftspeople wouldn’t think twice abut letting petroleum oil soak into the ground.
Quite a few farms and gardens will mix in fertilizer, and here you want organic, if you can afford it. Although fertilizers such as Miracle Grow produce good results, they are not organic, but made from petroleum. That’s not bad so much because it consumes oil, but because you don’t want that stuff in your soil.
Another reason you might want a complete “makeover” is that soil in quite a few places does not drain water as quickly as plants would prefer. This is particularly true if the water table is high.
Another related situation is hydroponic gardening — where all the nutrients except those taken from the air are artificially added to the water. Hydroponics originally were expensive and produced inferior food, but the situation is now much improved. That is to say, it is now economical and reasonable to provide all the nutrients for plants.
Ultimately you’ll want to do at least a couple hours’ research. Agriculture is one of the biggest businesses on Earth, and collosal amounts of money have been spent over decades getting the best answers to your question. Much of this information is public, and sources such as the US Government not only have literature, but also offices where you can go for free advice.
Have a look at this article on potatoes I wrote recently, giving several directions to consider. http://greenanswers.com/q/274267/food-agriculture/farming-ranching/crops/how-much-water-required-planting-one-hector-potatoe
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