Raised bed gardening SOS! Help!

Latitude and season come into play here in ways I’m not sure of offhand - and am too mentally lazy at the moment to try to reason out…:wink:, but I think  due East and due West should get about the same number of hours of sun at roughly the same angles over time (at least below very high latitudes). But because the sun has been up so much longer by the time “Western” exposure gets the direct sun, it’s usually hotter than East, so East is probably better for most crops than West, all else being equal…

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That is very wet looking soil. Young plants don’t need lots of water. I may be wrong, hard to tell from pics, but do you have good drainage?

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This morning I’m noticing the perlite, add what looks like weed block, perhaps lining the bed, which might rule out “purchased raised bed mix” (as noticed above, might be “potting soil”), and an opened bottom raised bed.

The guessing is sort of fun, but I hope @Saregama comes back with more clues!

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It looks like you’re using potting soil in your beds. I’d work in some grass clippings, shredded leaves and any kind of organic material that will decay and enrich your soil.
Also, if you are new to organic gardening, or if chemicals were used in this area, the first year can be a disaster. There is a delicate predator-prey balance in nature and it will take awhile for this to return. For the moment I’d suggest just adding a good layer of mulch such as dry grass clippings, etc., to keep weeds away and help retain moisture in the soil. Be patient and in time your soil will improve. Also add flowers and shrubbery that encourage bees, butterflies and birds and they, in turn, will help your garden.
But I must warn you: gardening is addictive!

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Do the vegetables get enough direct sunlight all day long? I have vegetables looked like that at the end of the season, when they have produced the fruits, days become shorter and colder, the plants get tired and worn out. Do you have a lot of rain these days? What were the plants that used this bed? Maybe the PH of the soil is not correct for vegetables growing.

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Thank you for all the replies, and sorry for the delay in answering

@Harters not a water issue, there’s an irrigation system in place - this was the “fancy” raised bed, so it was set up “correctly.” I say this because most of the other things I’m growing, I’ve macguyvered without any fancy stuff. The soil is purchased, expensive organic potting mix for vegetables with compost mixed in. No slugs in this bed, miraculously.

@biondanonima I have not tested it, but it was brand new from the garden store, and I have fertilized regularly with a liquid.

@MikeG Thanks. I didn’t use the neem oil until I saw stuff in the lettuce, and after using it the newly planted lettuce wasn’t eaten quite the same way, so it worked at least partially - that’s what led me to believe it might be pests from the neighbor’s slope facing these beds.

@shrinkrap Yes… No weeds in the bed but the whole slope facing it is filled with mostly weeds.

@bbqboy Not my house, not my choice. This location was selected because it is out-of-sight, behind the main house and yard area where socializing occurs. Tangentially because it faces east and gets morning sun and many hours of light.

@kobuta Yes exactly. This has been my suspicion all along. Theres a wild / unkempt slope coming down from the neighbors, and I’m certain at this point that whatever thrives there has made these beds their home.

@mq7070 Yes, excellent drainage.

@Heuchera Thank you. It is indeed addictive, I have more tomato plants (elsewhere) than I can manage, plus lettuce, kale, peppers, and some other experiments - it has been a fun ride, but became obsessive early on…


Thanks for your reply!

Here’s a thread from last year. My original post has lots of typos but the responses don’t.

How about aphids? I just pulled this leaf from one of my tomatoes the internet says these are “aphid casts” on the underside.

I think this leaf has thrip and/or spider mite damage too.

Yeah. I think that’s one of several… and I’m concluding that facing the wild and weedy neighbor run off slope is the culprit, so my doing anything is futile as long as the raised beds stay where they are…

I did think about row covers to physically block the pests, but this is likely a losing battle given the location.

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Yeah, I think you have to put those on BEFORE you have a problem.

Yeah. If I had any inkling… and they were very insistent that’s where the fancy raised beds needed to go.

Meanwhile it’s warmed up a bit and my tomato plants have gone nuts… wondering if we should give some - or many - away.

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You can never have too many tomatoes :tomato:

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Get a soil test…they aren’t that expensive through your nearest agriculture extension service.

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That looks a lot like septoria leaf spot, a very common fungus.


I agree completely, and that is probably part of my problem, but after years of gardening in a central valley climate in Nor Cal, and keeping an eye out for the very common suspects, I also learned that some of the woes attributed to the common, and to senescence, might warrant a few other considerations, at least where it is insanely hot AND dry.

One year I had a fungus on a pepper plant, and realized just how unusual it was for me to have fungus problems here. Certainly it can happen, and you want to think horses before zebras, but I think we also need to spread information about spider mites and western flower thrips, at least in the this climate.

PS I went out and plucked most of the suspicious leaves after seeing your post!

FWIW: I see lots of possible ideas suggested here. My own first look was to think of overwatering leading to fungus, but there are certainly other options.

Regarding soil, I don’t think we’ve heard your exact mix as to its composition/brand. In the future, you might try the “soilless” mix that I and many others use: get a tarp on the lawn, and toss onto it equal parts of peat moss, coarse vermiculite (NOT perlite), and as great a variety of composts as you can locate (I usually go with manure, mushroom, chicken droppings, worm castings, and some packaged mixes.

The tarp, especially when you have a friend who can help, is a good way to mix up al this stuff by lifting at the edges methodically, raking a bit.

If it were just aphids, I’d say to get some hungry ladybugs. Not sure it’ll help with the other problems though. Any other friendly bug or pest eaters you can attract?

I do sometimes have green lacewings. I cant say I attract" them, but I certainly encourage them. So pretty! These are not my photos!
Adults Picture from Anatis Bioprotection

Eggs Picture from The Survival Gardener

Larvae Picture from Anatis Bioprotection

My garden…


That would describe my prior attempts well :joy:

But apparently tomatoes like me now.

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