vegetable garden preparation

Asked May 6, 2019, 9:33 PM EDT

I have a raised garden and this will be the third year I will plant vegetables in it. I haven't had the soil tested as I had planned. In addition, stinkbugs devoured the tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, and peppers I was growing in my raised garden last season. I also grew basil and parsley in the raised garden and lettuce, kale and parsley in the cooler months. Please advise me on what I should do to get my raised garden ready to grow tomatoes, zucchini, and basil. Thank you!

Frederick County Maryland soil vegetables

4 Responses

Hi- we suggest that you test your soil to get baseline information on soil pH, nutrient levels, total soil led, and organic matter content. The University of Delaware, Penn State U., and U. of Mass all test garden soils for lead. UDEL is the least expensive.

Here's the link to our soil testing page. You will see links to HG #110 and HG #110a both of which list the six soil testing labs we recommend (including the three above) along with contact information for the labs:
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/soil-testing

This process of taking and submitting a soil sample does not mean you can't get sated gardening! f your raised bed contains a high percentage of organic matter you may not need to add any prior to planting. Otherwise, spread and lightly incorporate at least a one inch layer of compost prior to planting. Please read our new web page on soil and raised beds:
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/soil-fill-raised-beds

Stink bugs are difficult pests to manage. They can be excluded with a floating row cover, handpicked, or sprayed with an organic insecticide (neem oil, pyrethrins, hort oil) when they are young. Once they reach the adult stage they are much more difficult to control with insecticides.
More information:
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/stink-bugs-vegetables
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/floating-row-cover
Jon


Hi,

Thanks for your reply to my email. Please reply to the following:

Should I mix botanicals such as neem or pyrethrum in the soil before planting tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs including basil?

I have a compost bin in the middle of the raised garden and all year round I deposit vegetable and fruit scraps, eggshells, and coffee grounds in it. The attached is a photo of the compost bin. Is that ample compost or do I need to add additional compost.

What type of compost do you recommend if it needs additional compost?

The parsley and thyme that I planted last year, in the raised garden, came back. Please let me know if I need to pull it out.

Thank you!

Rose


Hi,

Thanks for your reply to my email. Please reply to the following:

Should I mix botanicals such as neem or pyrethrum in the soil before planting tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs including basil?

I have a compost bin in the middle of the raised garden and all year round I deposit vegetable and fruit scraps, eggshells, and coffee grounds in it. The attached is a photo of the compost bin. Is that ample compost or do I need to add additional compost.

What type of compost do you recommend if it needs additional compost?

The parsley and thyme that I planted last year, in the raised garden, came back. Please let me know if I need to pull it out.

Thank you!

Rose


Do not mix any "pesticides" in the soil. That's not how pesticides are applied. Read the label to be sure how to use them, otherwise you are wasting money and they won't be effective anyway. That's gets frustrating!

Always use the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, which means first identify the problem/pest specifically, then target it only. Search 'stinkbugs' on our website and read about what will work for them.

It's a good practice to add at least 1" of compost over a garden each year, but how much to add is going to depend upon how good your soil is. For poor soil, with little organic matter in it, add more. Your soil test will tell you what percentage of organic matter is in your soil. It's the "OM" reading. 5% is a good soil.
Read through this page: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/soil-fill-raised-beds

We can't recommend specific brand name products, but any composted product should be okay, though cheaper ones may have a lot of uncomposted bark in them.

Yes, leave the returning herbs. They are perfectly fine.

Ellen