Your soils fertility is the key to successful organic vegetable growing. Not only does the soil provide a mooring for roots, it allows roots to breathe, supplies water for the roots to soak up and most importantly food for your plants. Types of soils can vary in the Mediterranean but there are four main classifications and its well worth the time in finding out your soil type.
We are within the Lefkara formation of Cyprus and our soil was formed during the palaeogene period, millions of years ago, when sea levels dropped forming land with high carbonate and siliceous deep water sediments and this accounts for the whiteness of our chalky soil. The disadvantages of chalky soil are that is free draining and loses nutrients easily and ours is slightly acidic with a pH of 5.5.
Fortunately, unlike some chalky soils, it has a good depth and has benefited from generations of adding organic matter which has improved its fertility. It does, however, bake hard after very heavy rain, if followed by strong sun, and needs loosening to avoid seedlings being crushed.
Our challenge is to continue improving its fertility, structure and gradually improve its acidity. The best way to improve a soil is by adding as much organic material as possible, over many years, as part of a rotation cycle for growing vegetables. Animal manures, compost, seaweed or green manures will all add humus and goodness to your vegetable beds.