Raised Beds Soil Questions

This is my second season using raised vegetable beds. I started out with top soil mixed with peat moss and compost. Last winter I covered each bed with straw then burnt it off in the spring upon the advice of an old farmer friend. The tomatoes in one of the beds didn't do as well as the others and the green peppers were poor performers. I'm thinking I need to fortify the soil but am not sure what to add. I was thinking manure and possibly compost then thought adding more peat moss wouldn't be a bad idea. Any ideas on this? When would be the best time to add the fortifiers - spring or fall?
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On Wed, 21 Sep 2005 11:10:00 -0400, ~patches~

I would think adding both compost and manure would make the peat moss unnecessary. It wouldn't hurt, but you will already be adding a lot vegetable matter to the soil. Will the manure be fresh or composted? It's usually best to add soil amendments when they'll have time to work for a few months, and fresh manure really does need some time to break down.
Penelope
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Penelope Periwinkle wrote:

Thanks for your help, Penelope. I would be adding manure bought in bags from the hardware store so I think it would be composted. I don't have much of my own compost but will use what I do have as well as that bought from a waste station. So I should add the amendments in the fall so they are ready to work in the spring?
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g'day patches,
i use raised beds and ahve done for a long time now and my main preffered medium to start with is mushroom compost in a composted form or fresh from the farm it hasn't made any difference to my successes.
can't see any need for using peat moss, when i make a bed for the first time i add what ever other green or compostable stuff before putting the mush' compost on top. thereafter all i do is heavily mulch with hay or slashed grass mulches and add the kitchen scraps as well as we save the night water and this gets watered onto the gardens along with the grey water.
can't for the life of me see the need to burn anything??!!
the remains of the seasons crops just get tucked under the mulch layer as well and that's about it too easy hey?
snipped With peace and brightest of blessings,
len
-- "Be Content With What You Have And May You Find Serenity and Tranquillity In A World That You May Not Understand."
http://www.users.bigpond.com/gardenlen1
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Peat moss is quite acidic. I add it to the area around my blue berries to bring the pH down. If the beds were too acidic, this could be the reason for the "poor performance". Check the pH of your beds and add lime if necessary. It takes awhile for the lime to affect the pH so amending the fall before is the best time to add the lime so it can work over the winter. Hope this helps. LJ

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keep adding compost... during the fall (if you don't grow anything) put your leaves and grass clippings in and rotate them into the soil. you'll have beautiful black soil. I also mulch with newspaper which the earthworms love. and as you know, earthworm castings are wonderful for soil. I never add peat moss..... just add compost and an occasional bag of manure just cuz it's cheap. I was in charge of 25 plots 20 ft x 4ft. (garden at a school)
nicole in ca

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