raised bed soil mixture

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by rkintn, Mar 3, 2005.

  1. rkintn

    rkintn mean people suck

    Dec 12, 2002
    Back in NW TN
    I am putting in a raised bed this year and was wondering what soil mixture I should use. I found a old thread that recommeded equal parts by volume of compost, peat moss and vermiculite. I don't have any compost and unless I can buy it a Lowe's or Walmart then it is out of the question. Would top soil work instead maybe with an addition of fertilizer? I am not in a position where I can till up my spot since we live in town and I am worried about hitting a gas line etc. My plan is to use concrete block as the frame, lay newspaper to keep out the weeds and then put the soil mix on top. Any suggestions?
  2. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

    May 20, 2004
    SE Missouri
    What I did when I was in a similar situation, was to go to a local stable and cart off free used bedding. It was wood shavings mixed with manure. Piled it into my raised beds and wet it down good. Give it time to heat up and cool back down before planting in it if you go this route.

  3. Wannabee

    Wannabee Foggy Dew Farms

    Dec 8, 2004

    I am with you - I would REALLY like to know what people use.......
  4. melinda

    melinda Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2004
    se AZ
    the above mix is from square foot gardening. I also copied this one down from an article in Sunset magazine:

    a mix of 3 parts composted organic matter and 1 part each soil, sand, and pumice - I think the guy using this was in Tucson or Phoenix

    I'm going to end up buying compost - I can't make enough (esp in the desert) to fill beds with it, but I think I'll have enough to add later. I'm doing the same as you - concrete blocks. I heard from a neighbor, she has been doing the concrete block thing for years. She doesn't fill it to the top, and then she puts shade cloth over it to protect the seedlings. Also, she fills the holes in the blocks because black widow spiders like to nest there. I'm gonna do 2 blocks high (16 inches) and fill about half or a little more, per the square foot gardening rules.
  5. bare

    bare Head Muderator

    May 9, 2002
    Sounds like it was my post that you dug up from the archives. I used well composted manure, which isn't usually that hard to find. The vermiculite and peat moss, while a bit spendy, really bulk up a lot when they are unwrapped and mixed, so it doesn't take as much as you'd think. I used one bag, (think it was nine cubic feet) of vermiculite and two bales of peat moss to fill two 4x12 beds.

    My first raised bed I made with bagged steer compost, which really wasn't all that much, you can probably get it from Lowes or some place like that for about a buck and half a bag.

    Look at it as an investment, 'cause it is.
  6. amwitched

    amwitched Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2004
    I used lots of leaves, top soil (99 cents a bag), peat moss and organic humas (99 cents a bag). This year, when I turned the beds, the soil looked really dark & rich and it was loaded with big fat worms.
  7. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

    Sep 7, 2002
    We dug into the horses loafing pen....down under it is well-composted so put this on the bottom of the beds and then ordered a dump truck-load of top soil For $100...sans rocks...a big plus in the Ozarks and put this on top. Things grew like gangbusters. Will top-dress beds with composted manure each fall....don't want to dig them up as this will bring those blasted rocks to the surface...parts of our garden look like a gravel pit!!! :rolleyes: DEE who has totally encircled a 24' swimming pool out two feet with the rocks from her original garden!!! Now you know why she went to raised beds.