Where to get soil to fill a raised vegetable bed

liliumskygazer(7)December 31, 2009

I'm wondering where, near Marietta, to get soil to fill a raised vegetable bed. I'm not going to have enough native soil. I figured I'd mix top soil (if I can find some of good quality) with mushroom compost. Or perhaps mushroom compost and Natures Helper would do well. Or maybe someone has already come up with a good mix that can be bought in bulk.

When I lived in Augusta long ago, there was a man who made huge quanities of compost down by the river. We took a truck down there and bought a load at a very reasonable price, but I've never found a place like that here in Atlanta. I heard that Cobb county composts it's garbage and gives it away, but I'm nervous that it might contain heavy metals that would be unsafe for vegetable gardens.

Does anybody have any ideas?

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bagsmom(7)

My raised beds are 24" deep (totally hard packed clay below. I wanted to ensure good drainage.) In the bottom, I used the clay and rocks from digging my dry creek. In the top half, I used compost, peat moss, mushroom compost, top soil, Scott's garden soil -- and mixed it all up. It had a great texture.

It was pricey, but I just bought about 8 bags of whatever every couple of weeks and added to the beds. I thought about ordering a load of stuff, but our driveway is too skinny for a dumptruck. Buying the dirt slowly made it seem cheaper!

I took some to the extension office to see what the soil needed, then just went from there. The last two years, I've used compost from my pile to mulch the veggies. It's been good!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 3:24PM
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esh_ga

The lowest priced topsoil at Lowe's is about $1.14 a bag. It is very light and fluffy. The topsoil at Home Depot (same price) appears to have more heft and more sand in it. For a good medium soil, mix the two brands. If you want light soil, use just the Lowe's kind. If you want to fill a hole in a substantial way, use the Home Depot one.

I find this to be a good solution when you don't need a lot. If you need a lot, consider having a landscape materials company deliver a yard or two of topsoil in bulk.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 3:49PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

There is a nursery in Marietta which has organic soil delivery. I'm sorry, I don't remember the name of it, but Georgia Organics recommends them.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 3:40PM
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mayland

we bought topsoil, potting soil, composted manure and sphagnum moss all from Lowes in bags (we got the cheapest bags of the topsoil and potting soil), and mixed them together.

our driveway is difficult for deliveries, and we just wanted to get it ASAP. We spent about $100 to fill a bed that is 3'x16', by 2' deep (with some broken rocks as a base layer).

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 6:55PM
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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

In many of my beds, I used CLM (Complete Landscape Mix) from Atlanta Landscape Materials on Buford Hwy. See link for website below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Atlanta Landscape Materials

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 9:25PM
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liliumskygazer(7)

Mayland, I appreciate knowing the price and size of your your bed. It give me something to work with and compare to.

Walter Reeves doesn't like the cheap bags of top soil. He says they are just wetland muck scraped up in Florida. I'll check out Lowes topsoil and see if anybody closer has CLM. I looked aroung Georgia Organic's forum, but did not finding a supplier name - I guess I'll keep my ears open on that.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 10:23PM
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bagsmom(7)

I am inclined to agree with Walter Reeves about the cheap topsoil -- but I have never tried Lowe's -- only the nasty stuff from the Depot. If Esh says Lowe's is good, I bet it is!!!!!!!!

It is sort of pitiful. Now that Christmas is over (sad), my OCD streak is now headed full steam to gardening!!!!! (Wooo hooo!)

I have a while to wait. Sigh!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 8:13AM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

I am sure you already have some native soil on which you want to build raised bed (lol). So then all you have to do is to add to it , amend it with fall leaves, compost, top soil,and manure.
First, you till the sits. Second, add a layer of the additives , as mentioned. urn it over (shoveling) or till it (with tiller ... )keep adding and tilling.
You will have to continue doing this for a couple of years, because compost, fall leaves, manure will pack down.
Of course, if you can spend money you can have truck loads of top soil/compost derivered and dumped(I have seen that outfit on Buford HWY, in Doraville). There you can have an instant garden.

I, myself started my garden, exactly the way I suggested. Plus, i kept hauling wheel barro loads of top soil, rottrf leaves from the nearby wooded area. I have not bought a single bag of compost or top soil so far. Of couse , I put a lot of work (exercise for me instead of going to health clubs) I even screened all of the 8 to 10" native clay soil and got all the stones bigger than .5" out and made walkways with them. Now my garden soil is rich in organic mater,and fluffy. Still I am adding compost (mostly made fromm leaves), fireplace ash,and broken pine needles.
With slight pressure on the shovel it will sink down to the rim easily, With all the rain here , it has good drainage too.

O', I almost forgot about earthworms. Last couple of years I have been hiring lots of them. They are my best garden helpers, when it comes to converting leaves into casting and providing aeration and drainage.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 1:50AM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

CLM is the Cadillac of soils. It retails for about $10 a bag and it is worth every cent. It's loaded with good rich compost, lots of earthworm castings.. delicious stuff.
Farmer D's compost is also an excellent mix.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 2:15PM
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liliumskygazer(7)

cyrus, I have a 4' x 36' bed built like you suggested, except I started by double digging by hand. Somehow this time I have in mind stacking about an 18" block wall and filling it instantly. Maybe I'm getting old and lazy.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 9:21PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Ya, liliumsky, getting old is natural. Tell me about it!
Double digging is way to go. But you have to amend it before the clay gets hard again.

You can do as much as you can do. Buy a couple of c.yards of top soil/ compost combo and add some of your own raking and haulings.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 11:05AM
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esthermgr

If you have a few months' patience you could gather up some of your fall leaves and start lasagna-composting right inside your raised beds. If you chop the leaves and kitchen waste up nicely you might have something you could plant in by late spring, or for sure by late summer. (I've found that my homemade compost doesn't have to be completely broken down and crumbly to work nicely for planting- 80% there seems to work just fine.)

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 10:30AM
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gt4889

I've purchased a lot of soil mix from these folks.
http://www.georgialandscapesupply.com/about/location.shtml

I've picked it up myself but I know they deliver, too.

Driving Directions
Take I-75 to Exit 263 (South Marietta Pkwy / South 120 Loop)
Go west on S. Marietta Pkwy/S. 120 Loop toward Marietta/Southern Poly Tech
We will be approximately 1.25 miles on the left.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 11:09PM
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liliumskygazer(7)

Thanks for that location, gt.

Cyrus, I did amend my double dug beds with horse manure from my friend. Hmmm.... I might be able to fill the bottom half of the bed with leaves and said horse manure, and then finish the top 8" with CLM. That way, it might make sense to use bags and not have to figure out where to let the dump truck dump.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 1:11PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Way to go Lili.

I dont't think a raised bed built this way will be permanent,
That is, you will have to keep adding and amending for couple of years. So, you should not plant any perenials in it because you will be shoveling and turning it. I learned this from experience with my raised herbs garden.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 3:23PM
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cindy-eatonton

I wanted to ask this same question - but for Eatonton (Lake Sinclair). I need about 20 yards of top soil for my (mostly) organic veggie raised beds. I have been checking prices locally and the difference in cost is extreme. Any advice for the area?

Thank you in advance!
Cindy

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 4:29PM
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garedneck

Each winter (cold so it doesn't smell as bad) i visit the local horse farm and get loads of free manure for the raised beds. Check craigslist regularly. There is a large riding stable off Holt road where they will let you come by anytime to get manure.
Cobb County used to give away their compost, but it smelled like toxic waste so I never took any. They quit giving it away.
Build your raised bed high so you won't have to bend very far to weed or pick produce!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 11:41PM
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cindy-eatonton

I wanted to follow up in case anyone else was looking for the same info - I bought soil from Embry Farms in Eatonton - they are a dairy farm and sell amended topsoil for $225 for a tandem truck (~18 yards) - that includes tax and delivery. The soil is fabulous, very few rocks, so far doesn't seem overly weedy. Now if only it would stop raining...

Cindy

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 10:20AM
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wayright

My neighbor used about 3 truckloads of the free dekalb county mulch to ammend his garden last year and it seemed to work really nicely.I think I will get some this year .It is free to load yourself,right behind the tag office across from the jail
Kevin

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 10:27PM
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garedneck

wayright

The dekalb compost/mulch is free for Dekalb residents only!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 10:47PM
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cindy_visitcedarkey_com

A followup on my garden - I've been having lots of problems with the new garden beds I built with the manure amended soil I purchased earlier this year (see post in January).

I was seeing weird growth, like a virus, but it was affecting only plants in beds with the new soil. After doing some research and speaking to the Extension office - it seems that my nice soil which had been amended with cow manure apparently is contaminated with Grazon - an herbicide used on animal hay because it kills pigweed and other broad-leaved weeds. It doesn't hurt the cows, passes right through them into the manure. The manure takes anywhere from a year to several to lose the toxicity of the herbicide...

So, instead of terrific beans, cowpeas, potatoes, etc. I have twisted and deformed plants... I'm hoping to let others know about this phenomena - it's apparently well-known in the industry. Too bad I didn't know...

Cindy

Here is a link that might be useful: Warning about herbicides in manures...

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 2:27PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Doesn't hurt the cows? I would say, it possibly has not been tested on all levels to see if it hurts the cows.
Did you purchase the cow manure, and the herbicide was not listed as an ingredient? If so, I'd contact the company you bought it from and explain how their product has contaminated your garden, making it toxic.

On a different subject, we visited Cummins Landscape Supply on Memorial in downtown Atlanta the other day. The nice young owner as several mulches, gravels and organic and non organic top soils. Competitive pricing and low price delivery!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 9:56PM
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cindy-eatonton

Hi GirlGroupGirl,

The marketing says it doesn't hurt the cows... I have my doubts too. I purchased "amended topsoil" - 18 yards of it. I knew it contained manure, but not the herbicide. I did ask if the soil had pesticides or herbicides in it and was assured it did not. In fact, they told me it grew beautiful tomatoes. Tomatoes are one of the sensitive plants.

I'm not having any luck getting the company to respond to me. I plan to send a registered letter asking for a refund of the $200+ that I paid for toxic soil...

Thanks for the recommendation on Cummins - unfortunately I live about 2.5 hours away...

Cindy

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 12:00PM
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