Proper mix of soil and compost for raised bed?

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by lbenson, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. lbenson

    lbenson Member

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    I've just constructed a frame for a raised bed vegetable garden. I'm going to fill it with new soil because I'm renting and the small amounts of soil available in the yard tested positive for some lead content (but not enough to require remediation).

    Here is my question: how much soil vs. compost (or manure?) should I use to fill in the bed? Additionally, does anyone have suggestions on the best source of clean, reasonably priced soil? I need a total of one cubic meter to fill my bed.

    Thanks!
     
  2. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Hello,
    Due to the restricted size of your plot, consider the following: purchase a minimum of 6x22kg mushroom manure and till with addition of a rich garden grade ( triple screened rock and weed free) topsoil. If you need to top dress, add more manure and trowel into the surface. I hope his helps. If you have a few cubic yards to spread and till, I would have recommended a mixed delivery... but I think the required delivery amount is too small for this service.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I wouldn't go overboard on the humus sources.

    http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~Linda ...ltural Myths_files/Myths/Compost overdose.pdf

    Ordering the amount of soil you need in bulk might in fact be the best way to go, even as expensive as it is to have a truck bring out such a small amount the per unit rate may still not be as high as by the bag - or there may not be a suitable bagged product on the local market.
     
  4. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    RonB, thank you for the excellent link - very helpful. The common belief is more is better, and much more is even better yet. Therefore, adding all sorts of amendments to the soil "must make it better". Mother, nature always knows best. - Millet
     
  5. greengarden bev

    greengarden bev Active Member

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    All of the home-made potting mix recipes I've come across recommend that no more than 25% by volume should be compost. A raised bed, for the first year anyway, is just a really big pot. As time goes by it develops some life and turns into "real soil."

    In my raised beds I had good results with 25% native soil, 50% two-way mix (topsoil and peat) and 25% compost.
     
  6. lbenson

    lbenson Member

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    Thanks for the great advice everyone. Now I just need to figure out who to buy the stuff from and how to get it to my yard....
     
  7. spike

    spike Member

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    Hello lbenson -

    I'm going to make raised beds this fall and will need to find some soil combination to put in them. Just wondering where you sourced yours from, what you ended up with, and how it went?

    Sarah
     
  8. lbenson

    lbenson Member

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    Hi,

    I ended up getting a garden mix from a landscaping company in South Burnaby (I'm out of town, so I can't look up or remember the name, sorry...it's an Italian family business). It was the cheapest per cubic yard and I was able to find someone to deliver it for me in their truck for a very low cost. It seemed like the more volume you need the more economical it is, especially if you need it delivered. My main lesson learned was that I actually needed a lot more soil--based on my bed dimensions I got one cubic yard, but after it settled, etc I probably needed double that. Based on a range of responses to my post here I decided not to get any additional compost. The company I got the soil from said their "garden mix" was soil and compost already. This is my experimental year, so we'll see how it goes.

    Hope this helps.

    Laura Benson
     

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