vegetable garden problems

Asked April 2, 2015, 5:23 PM EDT

Our vegetable garden use to produce a lot. The last several years we have hardly gotten anything. I'm guessing that I need to test the soil. Where do I do that? Do you have any other thoughts about this? We also have had zucchini in the garden for 2 years. Each time the leaves start getting a powdery gray stuff, and the leaves then start to die. What is this and what can I do about it? My final question is about tilling. I read that tilling can cause problems in the garden. Is this true or should I still till?

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

Yes, get a soil test. Here is our website info on it: Look on the list of regional soil test labs and send in your sample. You can put the soil sample in a regular sandwich baggie. The test results will give you lime and fertilizer recommendations.

Your zucchini probably has powdery mildew. You'll find our Grow It Eat It/Vegetable section.very handy. It has all the disease and insect pests of vegetables and how to control them:

As for tilling, sometimes it needs to be done to work in a lot of soil amendments, but it is not recommended on a regular basis as it once was. This is because of many reasons. One of the main reasons is that tilling kills the web of benefitical soil microorganisms, earthworms, etc. that are necessary for a healthy soil. Each time they are tilled, they have to start over again to get established. Constant tilling can result in a very sterile soil.
Also, tilling when soil is wet can destroy the soil (particularly those with clay in them) for years.
Here are a few other reasons, both pro and con for tilling (from a commercial agriculture perspective):