Winterizing Raised Vegetable Beds

Asked November 24, 2017, 11:30 AM EST

I am just looking for some suggestions on how to regenerate soil in our raised vegetable gardens over the winter. In the past I have just tilled the soil, added mulched leaves, and added new soil/manure around the time of planting in the spring. I also send out soil samples to be assessed for nutrients before I plant as well. The vegetable beds are predominantly for tomatoes, onions, and asparagus.

Prince George's County Maryland improving soil raised beds vegetable

1 Response

Your practices to improve the soil sound good. The best option is to add compost to the soil. After a few years of large additions you can decrease the amount to 1 in. each year. It takes 8 cubic feet of compost to cover a 100 sq. ft. garden to a depth of one inch. The goal is to have organic matter comprise 25 to 30% of the top 8 inches of soil by volume. Do not apply un-composted manure after crops are established. Fall application and incorporation is recommended for home gardeners. Here is more information on organic matter and compost http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/prepare-your-soil

Keep your garden soil covered as much as possible throughout the year and winter (shredded leaves) to prevent soil erosion and nutrient run-off, and keep weed seeds from germinating.
Next fall you can plant a cover crop to add nutrients to the soil and prevent erosion. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/cover-crops-protect-and-improve-your-soil

Also, take a look at our website for the vegetable crops you are growing http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/vegetable-crops
mh