The garden box soil put in by "experts" seems to have an adequate...

Asked February 9, 2015, 9:35 AM EST

The garden box soil put in by "experts" seems to have an adequate ph for tomatoes, cucumbers, etc., but it is very lumpy, hard to break up and prevents uniform irrigation. I intend to remove it this spring, but would like to know where I can purchase garden soil? If you cannot give purchasing locations, could you please give specific guidance? Also, where may I get continuing and reliable ph testing? Thank you.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

We don't know what soil you have there, but if you have the space/volume, we'd suggest amending the soil you already have. Adding organic amendments plentifully should help with your soil texture. Organic amendments include compost, aged manure, peat moss and Leaf-Gro, which is a composted leaf product made in Maryland. You should be able to find most of these at nurseries, farm supplies, some hardware and Big Box stores. If you google Leaf Gro Retailers, you can find who sells it both in bags and bulk. Incorporated amendments well with a shovel or pitchfork.
You are wise to be interested in having good soil. There is much more to be concerned about than pH however, especially the levels of different nutrients and minerals available to your plants. The best, and really only way to accurately know is to have your soil tested. (Even expensive pH meters are notoriously unreliable).
Here is a link to our soil testing information, including how to do it, and a list of regional labs who can complete the analysis for you:
Whenever the soil can be dug in early spring is a good time to take samples.