The Gardener’s Guide to Raised Bed Soil

An experienced gardener will tell you that even minor errors can make all the difference in a successful crop. Some of the most common mistakes include using the wrong soil or planting in s is deficient in nutrients. So what is the solution to these mistakes? If you use raised garden beds, raised bed soil is an excellent first step.

What Makes Great Raised Bed Soil?

Your harvest will always be affected by the intake of nutrients your plants have from your soil. Your soil should not feel like clay or sand. This indicates that the soil lacks enough nutrition and volume to support your plants. A good soil mix for raised garden beds is loose, moist, and not too crumbly. You may ask, “Okay then, what is the secret to great raised bed soil?” Organic matter is the key to having excellent garden soil. Organic matter such as perlite, recycled forest products, and dehydrated poultry manure are all packed with the nutrients that plants need.

What Is the Difference Between Garden Soil and Raised Bed Soil?

You might be surprised to know that there are some significant differences between garden and raised bed soil. For starters, garden and raised bed soil are often cultivated in different ways because raised bed soil is used for container/indoor gardening. In contrast, garden soil is used for outdoor gardening. Typically, you’ll want raised bed soil to have a pH balance of between 5.8 to 7.5.


Raised bed soil is not garden soil. It can best be described as a mixture of potting mix and garden soil that provides drainage and the airflow that plants require to thrive within enclosed environments. Raised bed gardening soil arrives in a bag ready to be used and should contain the necessary nutrients to support plants. Although garden soil can improve your existing soil’s composition, it is still recommended to replenish nutrients throughout the growing season.

Five Steps to Layer Raised Bed Soil

There are several ways that you can layer raised bed soil. For smaller raised beds, the first step is to fill the container with soil, followed by a 5-step layering process involving the hugelkultur technique of adding rotting wood to the soil, which will offer many benefits to your raised bed garden over the years.

1. Build a Bed of Wood

Layer pieces of wood on the top of the raised bed using stumps, branches, and twigs. Newspaper or manure can also be added to the raised bed at this point.

2. Layer Loam, Soil, and Compost

This will be the thickest layer if you have a high-raised garden bed. This layer can be made up of clean, older, native soil, potting soil, organic compost, grass clippings, and leaf mold.

3. Layer Mulch

Mulch can be a great addition to your raised beds. It helps break down the nutrients and compost into soil that plants can use for food.

4. Add Fertilizer

Eventually, your mulch will decompose and take nitrogen out of your soil and compost. Adding a layer of fertilizer can help restore your soil’s nitrogen levels.

5. Add Organic Raised Bed Soil to Finish It All

Finally, finish by layering 6-12 inches of organic raised soil on top of your other layers. You now have the option to either fill it with soil or leave some space at the top. The soil will then settle slightly after watering.


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