starting a new garden

Asked April 7, 2015, 10:03 AM EDT

I want to start a garden at my new home in Altoona. There are lots of creeping weeds in my poor lawn, on which I have used spray herbicides last year. Lots of spring runoff from the neighborhood, and it gets very dry in August. How should I prepare the soil for raised bed gardening for tomatoes, brambles, and strawberries? I start my tomatoes and will purchase the others. How can I get a soil test? Where can I download or purchase PSU extension literature?

Blair County Pennsylvania

1 Response

Soil test: You can download the submission form for the sample at There you will find the directions for taking the soil sample as well as how to mail it in with the cost of the kit. You might want to call your local Cooperative Extension office to see if the kits are available there. The cost is the same either way (downloaded forms versus pick-up kits).

Lawn and garden information: Go to the Penn State site ( and click on Home owner/Lawn care. There you can view all kinds of information that you can print out. You just need to put the subject in the search box at the top of the page and go from there.