The Q&A Archives: Planting a Vegetable Garden Over Asphalt

Question: I am starting a small (12' x 12') garden. The only space available is on black asphalt. Is 14 inches of soil going to be deep enough? Will the soil get too hot? If so, what depth will the soil have to be in order to grow vegetables? I plan to grow mainly vegetables. What vegetables would you recommend to fit in such a small space. I would like to plant sugar peas, cucumbers, leaf lettuce, peppers, beans, carrots, beets, and zuchini. How should I prepare the soil? What fertilizers should I start with? Luke Charlton Lewiston, ID

Answer: I assume you are planning to build raised beds for your garden. You should be able to grow the plants you listed -- one caution, though. You might want to choose carrot varieties that are shorter and stockier, rather than the long, slender varieties. I also assume you will be bringing in topsoil. What fertilizers/soil amendments you will need depends on the quality of the topsoil. All garden soils benefit from the addition of organic matter -- grass clippings, shredded leaves, compost, and well-rotted manure are all good choices. Also you might want to have the soil tested -- either with a home test kit or through a testing service. (Your Cooperative Extension office should be able to direct you to a soil testing service; their number is 208/799-3096).

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