phenian
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Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:05 pm

Newbie question

I am just constructing my raised beds for general vegetable growing. Now all I have to do is fill it up. What should i fill it up with? Can I use standard multi-purpose compost like you buy in big bags from a garden centre or should i get a load of topsoil delivered?

Thanks in advance

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Grey
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Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:42 am
Location: Summerville, GA, Zone 7a

Hi Phenian -

We're actually discussing some of this in the Organic Gardening section, you may want to stop by there. I have clay soil, so I used half of it and half cow compost, some mushroom compost, some topsoil mix from a nursery, and then I keep adding kitchen scraps to it to keep building my soil from there.

opabinia51
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Location: Victoria, BC

Try these links to the organic forum:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=278


https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1990

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=382

They should be enough to answer your questions, if after reading the threads, you still have some questions; don't hesitate to ask them.

Generally however, I like to dig down and lay some leaves followed by a layer of soil then more leaves, some manure and finally soil. Plant whatever you want to grow insofaras perennials and annuals. In the fall when your annuals have died off, mulch them into the soil then, add leaves followed by a green of some kind (manure, coffee grounds, grass, etc.) and then plant an overwintering cover crop like a good rye mix (with legumes, vetch and so on) and let grow until the following spring. In the spring turn your "green manure" into the soil and break up before planting.

phenian
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Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:05 pm

Thanks both!

I want to get something ready in the next week or two so that I have something ready to plant into this spring.

While I know it is not ideal in the longer-term, I only really have two choices: a load of top soil delivered or bags of multi-purpose compost. In time I will improve these but need something to get me going.

Getting top soil delivered is tricky and would require me to take a day off work to be here for it whereas big bags of compost are easier but not sure how effective they will be

opabinia51
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Location: Victoria, BC

my perrsonal advice is to use the compost. It will breakdown into rich, humusy soil.


If you can get your hands on some Rock phosphate, sprinkle that over the compost as you add each bag.

Also, if there are any fallen leaves (except Walnut (Juglone, inhibits most plants and Oak if you want to grow grasses, like corn.) rake them up and layer them before you add your compost.


Once you have plants in your garden, you could try some blood meal as an organic fertilzer (which is a green), I like Kelp Meal (also a green) and you can dig trenches and put your kitchen wastes in the area with shredded newspaper or leaves (better).

The Jury is now out on some advice that I have been giving for years, whether or not colour inks contain dioxins, I am not sure that they do. According to one of our members, burnt paper contains dioxins (which are harmful to plants). I have collected about half a dozen papers that I am currently synthezing that will answer the question and if I remember I will let you know if colour articles are bad for composting.

For now, just stick to using black and white newspaper articles.

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