soil testing

Asked May 2, 2020, 4:31 PM EDT

I'm creating a vegetable garden with raised beds, and will purchase garden soil and compost from a garden center. I live in Cockeysville and have clay soil. Is a soil test necessary for raised beds in my area? I checked the links you've provided for soil tests: some are not operating due to COVID-19 and others don't have clear links for home gardeners. Delaware, for instance, requires kits to be purchased from their extension offices. If a soil test is necessary, do you have other suggestions on where I can get one? Thanks!

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

Hi- U of DEL will accept soil samples from MD gardeners that are submitted in plain plastic bags. The UDEL basic test includes a lead test. We do recommend that you test the native soil to get some baseline information on soil pH and nutrient levels.

Topsoil/compost mixes are excellent for raised beds. Examine the material before purchasing and ask the supplier about the origin of the topsoil and any testing results.

Our page on filling a raised bed with soil:
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/soil-fill-raised-beds
Jon