Raised beds are great for veggie, herb, and flower gardening. Benefits include reducing weeds, help with drainage, easy maintenance, and easier on your back. We’ve seen really cool raised beds made from cinder block, rocks, wood, sheet metal, or a combination of materials. What’s most important is what goes in them… that starts with the soil.
Our soil recipe:
For raised beds, we like a blend of bulk sandy loam (or bagged topsoil) and Nature’s Blend Compost. Sandy loam is a mix of sand, silt, & clay to create a loam that will drain well. The Natures’ Blend Compost enriches the soil. Together they create an ideal soil for planting. You will use 1 bag of Nature’s Blend per 12 sq ft of space.
Once you have your soil and compost mixture, add organic Medina Growin’ Green plant food & dried molasses. Mix in, water, and let it rest a few days which encourages soil microbes (like beneficial bacteria and fungi). These microbes will have your soil teeming with life that will help plant roots fight off pests while maintaining growth.
If you have a small raised bed (or don’t have a way to haul bulk sandy loam), another great option is to use a combination of half Landscaper’s Pride Potting Soil & half Gardeners’ Magic soil blend. Both of these come in bags – just dump the bags in, mix together, and plant! The Gardener’s Magic is specially formulated for raised beds, and adding the potting soil makes it even better by improving drainage.
How Much Soil Do You Need?
Here’s the math:
- Length x width x depth in feet = cubic feet. (example: 4’ x 8’ x 1.5’= 48cf)
- Divide by 27 = cubic yards (48cf ÷ 27= 1.777cy)
Other numbers to know:
- Sandy Loam = bulk (sold by cubic yard)
- Nature’s Blend Compost bag = 1cf
- Landscaper’s Pride Topsoil 40lb bag = .75cf
- Landscaper’s Pride Potting Soil bag = 1cf
- Gardener’s Magic bag = 1.5cf
If this is too much math, we can always help you figure out how much soil you need. If you’re not wanting to DIY, our landscape department can design and build your dream raised beds – just give us a call.
Debbie, Great article! Keith
Thank you Keith, many knowledgeable people here @ Gills. Nice we get to share with each other & the community!
where is a good place to get quality sandy loam?
We can sell you a half yard in your pickup or 2 yards on your trailer. If you need a 14 ton truckload, call Haas Resources
Debbie, that garden bed looks really nice. What type of wood did you use? Do you sell that at your nursery? I’ve built a few garden beds with untreated construction lumber but it isn’t as wide as your lumber. I’ve been wanting to build a larger one.
Also, for math calculations, I use https://soilcalculator.com/beds to figure out how much soil I need.
The lumber is treated pine 4 x 6