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Leon County Democrat Group

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Buying Soil For Raised Bed Garden

When I built my raised beds, I called around and ordered what I thought would be a good-quality triple mix. In Ontario where I live, triple mix is generally top soil, compost, and peat moss or black loam. A 50/50 mix seems to be more common in the U.S., which is a blend of top soil and compost.

buying soil for raised bed garden

Whatever you end up using, you want to make sure you amend it with compost. All that rich organic matter is an important component that will hold moisture and provide nutrients to your plants. Compost is an essential ingredient in the best soil for a raised garden bed, no matter which mix of ingredients you choose.

I just put down 24 bags of Miracle Grow garden soil in a raised bed that I just made. (4 feet by 12 feet) I am in the process of building another one right now. But, I am thinking, now that I have read these comments, that I should have purchased raised bed soil instead. What would you suggest I purchase for the next raised bed? I could still pull some soil out of the other bed to mix with something else, if that would be best. I read that regular garden soil packs down and I can see that it has. Thanks.

Hi Juanita,Looking on their site, it says to mix it with your native soil. Amendments are great to add to your existing garden beds if they are already filled. I see G&B also sells a Raised Bed & Potting Mix, but you could also find a 50/50 blend and add your amendment to it.

Hey I am a brand new gardener who created an 84 raised bed in my back yard. I went to the store and bought 5 bags of top soil and 3 bags of compost. I am unsure on how to put them in the bed in order to get the best veggie production. Do you have any tips?

Hi Tara,My hubby just built a length of 70inches, width 35 inches, and depth of 15inches. I was going to buy compost(chicken/steer manure compost), vermulite/perlite, peat moss, and top soil. What would you recommend for ratios? Or can I purchase Kellog organic raised bed soil?

I also had a problem with cucumber beetles as well as squash bugs and vine borers. They devastated my cucumbers, squash and zucchinis which I grew in my raised bed and containers. My question is can the soil in my containers be reused to plant other vegetables or should it be thrown out. I am going to amend the soil in my raised bed but with the probable presence of pests can I safely grow root vegetables where the cukes/zukes were?

HiI am also building 2 raised beds 8ft x 4ft over existing lawn area Is it absolutely essential to turn the sod over? I have read that its okay to put cardboard or damp newspaper over the grass then add soil? The beds are 22mm highWe have our own compost as well as 2 enormous oak trees so loads of leaves at our disposal every yearIs it okay to mix the compost and/or leaves with topsoil without adding anything else and in what order?

Hi Glenn, I generally recommend a 50-50 blend that is generously amended with compost. I also wanted to make sure that you have some tips related to your climate, so I found this article that might be helpful for you. -02-28/best-garden-potting-plant-soil-feed-loamy-peat-mossI would also recommend adding mulch to your garden to help retain the soil moisture. -Fertilizers-Compost/?ds=547&reportnumber=1013&catcol=3821&categorysearch=Soil&catcol2=0&categorysearch2=

I just built my first raised garden bed on the outside of my greenhouse i will be building then on the inside of the greenhouse as well. I have bagged raised gardenbed soil. I am going to mix in compost. My question is. Should I also add mulch to the top layer of the bed on the outside? And will the raised garden beds on the inside of the greenhouse need mulch as well?

I am preparing new raised beds and unfortunately missed your earlier comments about using the grass cut out at the bottom of the boxes for fill. I do have some cardboard boxes and grass clippings. Can I put that down first then add the triple mix soil? Would I still need 12 inches of soil on top of that?

Use only reputable landscaping companies when sourcing topsoil for large projects. Before buying, visit the seller and give the topsoil a squeeze. Good topsoil should hold together but break apart when poked.

Getting the feel of good soil is a valuable skill for the gardener to learn. When in doubt, you can always have your soil tested for N-P-K values, pH levels, micronutrients, soil texture, and organic matter.

The byproduct of heating organic wastes in an airless environment, including biochar to your raised bed mix will improve soil structure and moisture retention with a little nutrient boost. Learn all about making biochar here.

Wondering what soil you should put in a raised garden bed? While your choice of soil may not seem important in comparison to other raised garden bed ideas (such as your choice of plants), it is a surprisingly vital factor with an impact on your entire garden. So, when looking at how to build a raised garden bed, it is a good idea to bring soil to the top of your priority list.

'Instead of filling your entire raised bed with soil, fill the bottom of the bed with all kinds of natural materials from your yard,' John says. This can be anything from logs, branches, sticks, leaves, grass clippings, or even compostable food scraps from the kitchen. 'Just be sure to leave room for at least 6" of soil, which you'll add once you've filled up the bottom of your raised bed,' he says.

After filling the bottom of your raised bed with the appropriate natural materials, it is time to add soil to the bed. It is best to buy soil that is formulated for veggie growing as this will elevate your vegetable garden ideas over time.

'If you've got a smaller raised bed, simply purchase 2-3 bags of decent potting soil plus 1-2 bags of compost. Then mix them and cover all of the branches, leaves, and grass clippings completely,' John instructs.

We recommend the Hugelkultur method as a way to promote great raised garden bed health. However, Rachel also suggests following a ratio of 60% topsoil. 30% compost and 10% Potting soil. The latter is not soil but a combination of peat moss and perlite that is beneficial to the ground.

Gardener's Supply offers a wide range of raised beds, from DIY-style raised beds, to complete kits for beds made of cedar, composite wood, recycled plastic, and galvanized steel. You can also consider elevated raised beds for no-bend gardening.

Raised beds range in height, starting at about 6". In general, the more soil depth that's available to your plants, the more freely their roots will grow. More soil also holds more moisture, so a deeper raised bed will require less frequent watering.

It is possible to install a raised bed on poor or compacted soil or even on concrete. If this is the situation you have, buy the deepest bed you can afford. A depth of 10-12" is preferable. Keep in mind that the deeper the bed, the more soil you'll need to fill it. Use the Soil Calculator to determine how much soil you'll need.

How many raised beds should you have? If your space or time is limited, you might want to start out with just one. If you're trying to produce lots of your own fresh vegetables, you will probably need at least three or four beds. Use the Kitchen Garden Planner, our free online garden design tool, to select and place the crops you want to have in each bed. This will help you determine how many total beds you'll need to accommodate everything you want to grow.

DO consider the proximity of your water source! Because your garden will need to be watered during the growing season, you'll want to have relatively easy access to a hose. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems dribble water slowly into the ground right at soil level and are a very efficient way to the water.

If you plan to buy topsoil in bulk, go to a reputable garden center or nursery and ask for information on the origin of the soil. Examine the soil before shoveling it into your new raised bed. Topsoil should be dark and crumbly with an earthy smell. Do not purchase soil that is very high in clay, has a funky odor, or feels sticky in texture. Generally speaking, aim for the following ratio of soil components:

How deep should your beds be? Leafy greens and herbs need at least 6 inches of growing depth, while tomatoes, squash, and other deep-root crops require at least 12-18 inches of nutrient-rich soil. That being said, plants will almost always appreciate deeper soils, which encourage stronger, sturdier roots. If you are building your raised bed over grass or bare earth, you can gain additional soil depth by digging 6-12 inches down into the earth, removing any large rocks and debris, and mixing in some of your raised bed soil.

Blending in additional organic matter, such as leaf mold, will further enhance soil microbial life and improve moisture retention in your garden bed. If you are planning to grow any specialty crops that might benefit from additional nutrients or adjusted chemistry, add any necessary soil amendments to your raised bed. Blueberries, for example, may appreciate an acidifier.

Though most of the vegetables you'll want to grow could be started directly in the garden from seed, in many cases, it's best to start out with a plant. Transplanting shortens the time to harvest by a month or more. In cold regions, where the growing season may be 100 days (or less!), a tomato or pepper plant that's started in the garden from seed will not have time to mature before frost arrives in the fall. Check your local garden center or farmstand for seedlings that you can transplant right into your raised bed.

When planted intensively, raised beds to help keep weeds to a minimum. When weeds do pop up, you'll want to remove them quickly so your garden crops aren't competing for moisture, nutrients, and root space. You're growing your food here, so stick to physical weed removal and don't apply herbicide!

If you are trying to block the growth of weeds or any other undesirables in your garden spot, weed cloth is just not necessary. The depth of the soil you will be adding will smother most, if not all, undesirable growth. What little does make it to the surface can be easily pulled out. This little bit of maintenance will be well worth having soil that drains properly. 041b061a72


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