Raised Bed warning

Zinnia(z6 OH)January 30, 2003

Last summer my DH built several raised beds for me and in the fall I sent in a soil sample to be tested since some plants were struggling. Woohoo! I found out we had way too much phosphorus in the soil. We combined topsoil from a local supplier with leafy compost, manure and mushroom compost, it's hard to say what is the culprit, my warning would be to have the topsoil tested prior to adding ammendments, that way you would know for sure which ammendments to use and how much to add, live and learn. Nothing we can do now except cease all fertilizing and wait for the excess phosphorous to leach out of soil (could take three years!) I highly recommend soil testing for new beds, it's worth the cost in the lives of plants you'll save.

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Now that you do have the raised beds ,which is convenient for gardeners who wish to eliminate bending, would it be possible to have plants in containers on the surface of the raised beds until such time the plants could go directly into the soil. There are many good ideas on the container gardening forum. Even without added ammendments , in having loads of top soil hauled in it is important to know where the soil originated and if any kinds of plants were predominant in the area. We once had a crop of buttercups to remove the first year after spreading several loads of river bed soil. Your post is valuable information.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2003 at 5:59PM
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Zinnia(z6 OH)

The raised beds were planted last summer with perennials, the reason I had the soil tested was because the plants did not grow much and some leaves turned brown. The extension agent said to just let things be for a couple years, the plants will survive but may not grow much. I do plan to add a few containers to the bed where there are some bare spots to fill in until I can plant in the ground again. I agree it is always a good idea to have the soil tested since often the company that sells the topsoil isn't aware of any specifics that may result from it's place of origin.
I am in a wheelchair and raised beds definitely make gardening easier so it's worth the extra effort.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2003 at 7:23PM
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Perennials take a while to reach their best potentials. Thanks for sharing your intelligent comments and hope you will enjoy many years of pleasure. Good luck!!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2003 at 11:19AM
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