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What soil to use in a raised vegetable bed?

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dirtwitch blog
Joined: 12/10/2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 56
Posted: Mar/10/2009 9:35 PM PST

We are building raised beds for vegetables this year. Since we are new to gardening and especially veggies, we need to know what type of soil to use in our 4x10 beds which will be about 12-15 inches high.

Can we use topsoil or a "garden mix" that we can buy in bulk at our landscape supply? Our soil is rock hard, nasty clay and we don't want to take the time the dig it up and amend it.

Got any suggestions??


cougar blog photos
Joined: 8/24/2008
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 1184
Posted: Mar/11/2009 5:38 AM PST

I had the same problem with a raised bed. This is what I did and boy am I glad I did. Since the bed was in such bad shape, I fed it for the first year, added compost, leaves, food scraps, coffee grounds, grass clippins and a few other things. Whenever I added them to the bed I would turn em into it. I personally waited for the following year to plant. It really was beneficial to prep the bed and get it nice and ready so I could avoid possible problems down the road..I am sure there could be other things as I know these very smart gardners can advise. Just speaking from experience and the success I had.. Goodluck sometimes patience can be well worth it.
damethod blog photos
Joined: 5/04/2008
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 637
Posted: Mar/11/2009 6:10 AM PST

I used a mix of regular dirt, composted cow manure, and Miracle Grow organic garden soil. I would have only used the MG, but it is quite expensive.

That was last year when I prepared it for the first time. This year, I ammended some more composted cow manure, compost, blood meal, and bone meal.

If you provide a rich soil for your veggies, you won't even need to fertilize. Try asking around at a local nursery/garden center so you can get information specific to your area.
Joined: 7/08/2003
Location: West of Salem, OR on the W. edge of the Willamette
Posts: 123
Posted: Mar/16/2009 5:22 PM PST

One thing you might seriously consider during construction is adding 1/2" galvanized mesh under the bed before you fill it. We have moles and gophers as well as voles that love root crops or the worms in the beds. Doing this before filling will be lots simpler if you have these problems.
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