How do I insure a productive garden?

we have a raised bed garden. The dirt in it though, is so rocky. I’ve had good success with tomatoes but that’s about it. I’m looking for experienced advise on replaci dirt, fertilize, what to plant etc
wgatever advice that can help it be more worthwhile to even bother Because at this point it’s just way too much work with being so over taken by a tremendous amount of weeds.

  4 answers
  • First, where did you obtain the soil that is in the raised bed now? Whatever it is, I would remove it. Start over with a good potting medium specifically for growing vegetables and flowers from a nursery or even the bagged soil from any home improvement center. I guarantee you will have far better success. Is the bed in a location that gets enough sun? I would think that if you grew tomatoes, it should be in the right place. Here are some fantastic links with tips for growing in raised beds.

    I have done well with onions, peppers cucumbers, squash, lettuces and herbs in raised beds, but there are many more possibilities. Grow what you know you want to eat!

    Hope this helps!

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Feb 10, 2018
    In order to have a productive garden, raised or not, you need a good nutritious soil to promote healthy root and plant growth. If it is rocky you must have used regular soil that was dug up. The rocks will heat up the soil in hot weather and hurt the roots. I would replace it with a good garden soil or potting soil. Add in some compost, manure, anything that will help to make it better. If you have trouble with weeds getting into the soil with the other soil, it may have come with the soil. You shouldn't have as much trouble with the new soil. If you do, pull or dig up the weeds and put down some Preen Weed Preventer to keep the seed born weeds that are dropped by birds or blown in with the wind from germinating. Many don't like to use something like that, but all it does is prevent weed seeds from germinating, it does not harm the plants or their productivity, it also does not stop the seeds you plant from germinating. Make sure you have enough soil in your raised garden to allow good root growth, if not, you may have to add some height to get in more soil. Plant the veggies that your family likes, no matter what others suggest. Fertilize with a good fertilizer, you can use liquid or granular. I use extended release granular, you don't have to renew it for about three months, just do as the container instructs. If you use liquid, do not foliar feeding. If you foliar feed it will give you great looking plants, but little produce. Use fertilizer made for tomatoes and vegetables. The only time I foliar feed is if the tomatoes need a calcium supplement if they get blossom end rot from a lack of calcium. I hope this helps, I have had veggie gardens since the mid 1980's. I haven't had raised beds, but it should work no differently than a regular garden. I don't have a really big garden, but always have enough for the family (5), my mom, my brother and some of the neighbors that don't have gardens.

  • Cindy Cindy on Feb 10, 2018
    Hi Tina, It sounds like your garden needs to be tilled. All those weeds and rocks needs to come out. Break the big chunks up by hand. I have a raised garden too. My sons built it for me and I love it. I use a mix of one-third soil, one-third manure and one-third sand. The sand will help with water retention. Mix these 3 components in a wheel barrel first and then put in the bed. This will make sure everything is spread out evenly. When I plant my tomatoes, I put early girls in the first row, then better boys and so on. This way I have tomatoes all season. I use a soaker hose to water 15 or 20 minutes every morning. It's really just a hose with a lot of pin holes down it's entire length. I don't worry about watering the leafs. I water the roots. This method is called deep root watering. It makes a huge difference. You should plant which veggies your family will eat. Besides tomatoes, I plant cucumbers, peppers, carrots, broccoli, and strawberries. I used to grow zucchini too but don't have the space in my raised bed. Cucumbers and some green beans need a trellis to grow on. I make pickles with my cukes. My last bit of advice is about pollinating. We don't have a lot of bees and insects to pollinate where we live. So every few days I do a gentle "jiggle" with each stalk. Just a gentle flick of the finger. An un-pollinated plant will yield 15 - 20% of its capability. A pollinated plant will yield 90 - 95% of its capability. Big difference, right? I read about self-pollinating and didn't really believe it would work. Wow. Was I surprised. Try it, you won't regret it. That's it from me. Best of luck to you.

  • Dfm Dfm on Feb 11, 2018
    I take a small water color type paint brush to my tomato plants and transfer the pollen with it. It does work well.