One of the benefits of raised bed gardening is drainage, but this feature also makes your garden box's soil requirements slightly different. You can fill your beds with your own yard topsoil, but it's a good idea if you want to give your plants the best chance at keeping out weeds. Both options are discussed below.
The Best Homemade Soil Mixes:
50% of screened topsoil is made from healthy loam.
50% sieved compost, which can be anything from your own compost, as well as mushroom manure, animal manure or fish compost.
Best Premium Soil Mixes:
1/3 peat moss
1/3 compost mix similar to above
The last combination above will help eliminate weeds, but the real key to these combinations is composting. No matter how good your topsoil is, without compost your bed will fail miserably and will need to be added again every year.
Ongoing soil construction can be accomplished in a number of ways:
Lasagna method: Fill the bottom of the garden box with a layer of leaves, grass clippings, straw, sawdust, and other organic materials, and top with a layer of cardboard. Next, add soil. Over time, this mixture will break down into rich compost.
By planting green manures: For every two crops, plant one type of legume, such as clover or field peas, in raised beds. When it is ripe, chop it up and dig it lightly into the soil. Left to rot for the next season.
By adding more compost: Add any combination of organic compost to create a light, crumbly, fluffy texture.
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