As we get deeper into gardening this year, one of the main things we get asked is how we filled our raised beds in our garden. We have a post upcoming about how we created our steel raised beds, but I thought it best to explain how to to fill raised beds whether steel or cedar. So I created a quick guide on what you should know.
To begin you may want to head to this post I did about soil where I talk about what you need to know and cut through all the info out there. For a beginner you don’t need to know much more than what I have in this post about soil. It gets more complicated as you go, but this is for sure a great guide to refer to.
Before I get into the nitty gritty here are a few things to consider and know about raised bed gardens and soil:
- You need to know the height of your raised walls. Our our 8 inches deep but some people do them 18-20 inches deep so use the numbers below to help you figure out the right proportions if your’s are deeper.
- To know what you need to order for your raised beds, use a cubic feet calculator to know what you need. I use this one right here.
- If you have a lot of raised beds, (more than 2) I would suggest getting a delivery because it saves on plastic waste and the work of hauling it. Most places do a delivery for around $20-$50 depending.
- If you have gophers or voles, I would suggest adding chicken wire under your mulch. This will keep them from coming up into the beds if they are an issue for you.
- Always choose organic with no treatment for anywhere you are growing veggies. You eat your veggies grow in.
- Each year you will add a new few inches of compost to your beds. You can do this in spring or in fall either works, but it is most ideal to add it to the beds in the fall so it can filter down and give the soil plenty of time to replenish between plantings.
Below you will find all the info on what to add and how much.
You will want to first lay down any creature barrier if you so desire. It is not necessary, but it can be helpful.
Next you will want to lay down an inch or so of mulch or newspaper. Hay also works as well here. The inch is a rough estimate and is does not need to be exact.
The next layer will be the top soil. Most of your bed should be made up of this. It will both save you money and give you a nice base that allows for proper drainage. Top soil is inexpensive as well in comparison to high quality raised bed mix. So most of your beds should be filled with this. We filled about 3 inches of our’s with top soil and it works incredibly well.
Finally top the final 2-3 inches with compost or raised bed vegetable mix. If it is your first year, spend a little more so you get a really good base to work from.
We do not do any mixing of our soil because it isn’t necessary. The reason being is that nature does the mixing for you. Rain and plants move the soil and combine it to mix together over time. Less work for you.
Keeping up with the regular weeding and within a year or two of keeping with a regular addition of compost you will get to a point that not only is the soil in your beds really great, but your weeding will be very minimal.
Have more questions about soil and raised bed gardening, ask below. I would be happy to answer!