Leah Frances
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 10:37 pm
Location: Easton, Maryland

Newbie - what do I fill my raised garden beds with?

I am constructing several raised beds to grow some veggies. My plan is to remove the sod, cut some course sand into my clay heavy soil, and then fill the raised bed with the best possible substrate for veggie gardening.

What do I use? Top soil? Gardening soil? Compost? What ratio of components gives the best result? I need some helpful suggestions for this year.


Cool Member
Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 12:15 am
Location: Metairie, Louisiana

Most likely "Gardening soil" is just a mixture of Top Soil and Compost. If you have compost available (rotting leaves, grass clippings kitchen vegetables) then you can mix them in about 50/50 with some loose top soil. If your top soil has too much clay in it you can add some sand to loosen it up. Mix it all together and you should be all set.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Yes I agree. However I will add that in the fall, you can add mulched up leaves and manure. This will break down over the winter months and provide you with lovely soil in the spring. Also, the added organic matter will help aid your clay soil.

You can also add some kelp meal to you soild when you do your planting.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Please use caution when adding sand to clay soil. This can result in de facto concrete.

Ask me how I know....

Adding organic material (compost, smaller mulch, etc.) will help a lot with pore size in the clay.

How wide/long/deep are your beds? Do you need to use the clay, or can you afford to "make" planting mix?

I used it for the first time this year, and so far I'm getting very good germination times and very high germination %'s.)

Cynthia H.
El Cerrito, CA
USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 17

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Thanks for the advice Cynthia!

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