HouseofVeggies
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Best soil to compost mix for raised garden

I am building my first raised vegetable garden tomorrow. The only worry I have is getting the correct soil mixture. I have looked all over and it seems the most important aspect is getting the correct mix of soil, compost, mulch, etc. I've seen some say a 50/50 soil to compost mixture and others say a 1/3 soil, compost, mulch mix. I live in New Orleans and there is a local company making their own soil mixture at $5.00 per bag, which seems to have the correct composition. They deliver for free and since I am making a 4x8x1 raised garden will need 32 cubic feet of filling.


Thanks!!!

Dillbert
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Location: Central PA

Re: My first raised garden.

look for some place that supplies / prices / delivers by the cubic yard vs "per bag"

there's nothing to indicate volume in the advertising - just weight. a 30 lb bag based on averages would be less than one cubic foot, more somewhere in the 0.5 cubic ft. so for your 32 cubic ft need, that's some 60 bags at $5 a pop.

and, keep in mind the 20+10+10 % of organic matter in the mix will decompose to dust in one/two seasons meaning you'll need to "refill" the beds with another 50% of the original volume. and 25% of original volume after that decomposes and . . .

there's nothing wrong or bad with the product except the cost......

last year I got 10 cubic _yards_ of "garden mix" = 50% dirt/50% compost - delivered for about $200.
ten cubic yards = 270 cubic feet - so sounds good, but quite pricey.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: My first raised garden.

It's OK. I don't really understand the wood chips in the mix. Wood chips incorporated in your soil can tie up nitrogen while they are decomposing.

I would look for someone who will deliver you a cubic yard of topsoil, which will be very cheap. Then you can add expensive bagged ingredients like compost, worm castings, peat moss.

One traditional raised bed enriched mix is 1/3 topsoil, 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss. No wood chips! Mulch is mulch, meaning it is on top of the soil, not incorporated in. By the time it goes in to the soil, it is well broken down and won't tie up the N any more.
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Susan W
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Location: Memphis, TN

Re: My first raised garden.

There are several factors here. Having a raised bed where you are I am sure is wise for drainage!

Have you prepared the area for the bed? Especially getting sides in place, mowing, putting newspaper or cardboard down, some manure and dirt, water well.

Just for ball park amounts, the 4 x 4 x 7" bed kit from HDep rec's 8 cu ft. A regular bag of top soil is 1 cu ft. What is the volume of the bags you are looking at? (I could have missed that part!)

The amount of wood chips doesn't worry me, especially if this is used plus some other bags of stuff.

Let us know where and how deep you are in the project before going with more suggestions. You aren't too late for the summer stuff (okra, beans, tomatoes, peppers, squash) and then can do a fall-winter later on.
Have fun!
Susan

HouseofVeggies
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Re: My first raised garden.

I just finished the frame this morning. I have mowed the area well and will be putting down a few layers of weed block. The only thing I need now is a proper soil mix. My bed is 4'x8'x12''. So 32 cubic feet. I want to put down a healthy but price conscious soil mix. Btw, thanks for the veggie recommendations. I'm very new at this.

Susan W
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Location: Memphis, TN

Re: My first raised garden.

We all have our pet ways of doing things, but this is how I'd approach it.
Forget the weed block. If you have invasive stuff surrounding the bed, you can put in the plastic or metal barriers. These are 4", pounded down.
You've mowed. I sprinkle down the cheap bagged manure. Many don't, but I just think it helps break down the grass etc and helps enrich the existing soil. For your 4 x 8, 2 bags. Then layer down with several layers of newspaper, and some use cardboard. I put on another 2 bags manure and 2 bags cheap top soil (mix up and spread out). Water well.

Then build up. Can be same day or next. You already have 4 of the 32 bags needed. Perhaps 20 bags of the good stuff. I like to add a bag of cotton burr (one for whole garden). It's about $10, not at the box store but a private garden center. For bagged manure to mix in I have gone to Black Kow, yellow bag from Lowes. It doesn't clump, has some sand in it, needed for you, and mixes easy. I'd go 2 bags. This can all be mixed in the bed, working wth hands and hand tools. Then see how it is filling in.

I have a couple of 4 x 4 beds that need cleaned and worked. I did just clean out one, turned the soil. After just one year no line between new and old, and there are lots of worms. I have bags of stuff to fill in, enrich, mix with existing. Then plant, and the plant starts are very anxious to get in their new digs! This was all done a month ago. Oh well, not, sigh. Getting around to it! Welcome to the great world of gardening.
Have fun!
Susan

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