The Q&A Archives: Why didn't my vegetables grow?

Question: We built a raised bed vegetable garden in the spring. The vegetable did not grow at all. I know the sun and water were fine. I believe the soil is the problem. How do I go about testing to see if I have the right type of soil?

Answer: Soil quality is really important with veggie gardens. You didn't mention where you got the soil to fill your raised bed, and I don't know whether or not you amended it prior to planting. You can enrich your soil over a period of years and end up with rich garden loam if you add organic matter. Start by spreading 4-5 inches of organic matter over the vegetable bed prior to planting next spring. You can use compost, aged manure, shredded leaves or whatever organic matter is readily available in your local area. Dig or till this organic matter into the soil - 8-10 inches deep. Plant your veggies and mulch over the bare soil between the plants with additional organic matter. A 2-3 inch layer will help suppress weeds and slow water evaporation. At the end of the season dig the organic matter into the soil and add a fresh layer. Repeat this process annually and you'll end up with rich garden loam - and a spectacular vegetable garden.

You can have your soil tested through a private lab or through U Mass. Here's the web site:

Good luck with your garden!

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