Many areas of the world have rocky, clay, sandy, and in general – infertile soil. When it comes to soil for raised garden beds, you have complete control over what goes into its composition. The best combination will include some compost (with manure), good layer of topsoil, and some mulch for moisture retention. You have to get the combination just right, as too much fertilizer will burn your vegetables’ roots, and too much mulch will keep them overly wet.
After you’ve placed your raised gardening bed into its proper place in your backyard or on a patio, the next step is to fill it! Start by putting in a layer of newspapers at the very bottom, before adding the soil. There is a specific way to lay the paper – it has to be pre-soaked in water and overlap around the edges to make sure that there are no gaps. Laying newspaper at the bottom of your raised beds is a great way to prevent any unwanted weeds from invading your vegetable garden. On top of the newspapers, you can add various layers of soil, thus creating creating the best growing environment for your new garden.
The latest gardening secrets involve special placement of various natural gardening materials between layers of soil to achieve a “layered” effect, which allows prolonged growing seasons and reduced maintenance. These techniques allow gardeners to plant many different seeds at once (with proper spacing), harvest the topmost crop, and then a month later have another crop coming up in its place. These space-saving techniques are great if you don’t have too much extra time, and don’t want a huge amount of land to take care of.
The soil that you place in the new raised bed garden shouldn’t be packed in too tightly. Roots of your plants and vegetables will have a tough time moving through the ground it if it’s too dense, so it’s important to have some air flowing between particles of dirt. This also helps with irrigation – good drainage is an important part of a healthy garden.
It’s good to decide early on if you want an all-organic garden. In which case, you would want to also get organic soil for your raised garden beds. You can either buy it at the store, or create your own if you have the necessary components right in your back yard. This, however, may take some time because you have to prepare the compost beforehand and let it break down properly before mixing it with soil and using it for your garden.
Soil acidity is also quite important for your vegetables. Each plant may prefer their own levels of pH, but most vegetables do well withing a range of 6.0 (more acidic) to 7.5 (more alkaline). Areas with higher levels of precipitation tend to also have higher levels of soil acidity. If you buy your soil from the store, often times its acidity will be indicated right on the bag, but if not – you can conduct your own test. This can be achieved by using a store-bought soil test kit, or through other, DYI at-home methods. If the soil is too alkaline or too acidic, you can adjust the level of its pH by adding different fertilizers, or if needed – draining them out.
If you don’t want to spend too much money on buying new soil for raised garden beds, you can always use dirt from your own back yard for at least a third of the box’s fill. This will conserve some money, and provide your vegetables with valuable nutrients that are already found in their natural surroundings. The downside of doing this is that the soil from your own garden may contain fungus or unforeseen diseases, so be careful!