The soil is the digestive system of the plant. Healthy soil and soil biology are essential for healthy plants. Support the biology through applications of organic materials such as compost and mulch. Beyond light, air, and water, everything the plant needs must be present in the soil. Most soils in Vermont are lacking in major and minor mineral nutrients.
Good compost provides a broad spectrum of nutrients as well as organic matter and healthy biology. A soil test will tell you more precisely what your soils may need, interpretation of the test may take some additional understanding (we offer soil testing and consulting services). Short of a soil test, plant species present and plant performance can give an indication of nutrients available or lacking. Most fruit crops will benefit from a one-time fall application of lime at a rate of about 40 lbs per 1000 square ft. It is a good idea to use a mix of both hi-cal lime and dolomitic lime. Gypsum fills the same need for calcium and may be applied any time of year.
We often apply a blend of rock minerals to the planting hole and the surrounding area at the time of planting. Better soils grow better crops. We have been experimenting here on the farm with growing nutrient dense crops via careful balancing of major and minor soil nutrients. The results have been encouraging. Call us for support doing the same on your land.