Return to the Texas Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Need help in starting a raised bed veggie garden - Soil Mixture ?

Posted by scgirl816 7 (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 15, 09 at 23:46

Hello,

I am a complete newbie when it comes to gardening. I tried to search, but I was overwhelmed and not sure what to read for my simple question.

I have tons of packets of veggie seeds that I would like to plant this year, and I would like to do it in a raised bed so that I don't have to worry with trying to till the clay in my yard. I was wondering what the best, but most affordable, soil mixture would be for this. I bought a bunch of topsoil today, but then I read on the raised bed instructions that a mix might be better, but I can't seem to find anywhere that will tell me what to mix!

I just need to figure out a cheap and easy way to do this...if, in fact, there is one!

Thank you!
Rebekah


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Need help in starting a raised bed veggie garden - Soil Mixtu

You're probably thinking of Mel's Mix. That's Mel Bartholomew - he wrote the book Square Foot Gardening.

For me, the cheapest way has been to buy 12 cubic yards of the best soil I could afford (that was 400.00 worth, yikes) and to that I added compost and cow manure. Some places sell really good soil with lots of compost and manure included. It has worked great, my vegetables have been productive, it hasn't packed down (I can still dig a hole with my hand or trowel).

Some day I'd like to add perlite or expanded shale for water retention, but I haven't yet.

There are lots of opinions out there about this.

What kind of top soil did you buy? Did it come in a bag?


 o
RE: Need help in starting a raised bed veggie garden - Soil Mixtu

I just bought cheap topsoil in a bag. I don't have a lot of money to spend on this. I'm not an avid gardener...just wanted to try my hand at it this year since I was given some seeds, but I don't want to dump hundreds of dollars into it. Especially when I may kill everything anyway! LOL See, I know you experts will laugh at me, but when I went to the store to buy dirt, I was going to get the organic Miracle Gro, but I put it back because it was $5 a bag, and I was going to need 18 or so bags, and that was even way more than I want to spend. I thought maybe I could just get the regular topsoil and then buy a box of the some organic plant food and add that in for a lot less than buying the $5 bags. But then I tried to find something online that would help me know if I should add peat moss (I have a bag in my garage), and that's where I got confused. :)

Thanks!


 o
RE: Need help in starting a raised bed veggie garden - Soil Mixtu

You could add the peat moss but I would also find either organic humus or bags of cow manure. Anything you add will help the soil and don't forget to mulch everything after it starts growning.


 o
RE: Need help in starting a raised bed veggie garden - Soil Mixtu

  • Posted by ishoot z8 Red Oak, Tx (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 16, 09 at 19:40

Are you near a Living Earth Technologies site? They are in several Texas metro areas, www.livingearth.net
I've built some raised beds, and will be using their Specialty Planting Mix, full of compost with greensand and expanded shale as well. You can get lots of good soil and veggie garden info on the Dirt Doctor website too, www.dirtdoctor.com

Here is a link that might be useful: My raised beds ready for soil mix


 o
RE: Need help in starting a raised bed veggie garden - Soil Mixtu

Rebekah,
We got a pickup load (about 1 cu yd) at a place in Sherman. There was a bedding soil mixture, and also mulch available. One was about 30 dollars for the load, the other I think was more like $65. It was a place where we had bought rocks for landscaping, north on 78. Probably many places like this in other towns near you.
Lonny


 o
RE: Need help in starting a raised bed veggie garden - Soil Mixtu

Oh, I LOVE your picture! Thanks for the tips, everyone! I'm so excited to get started. Ishoot...how did you build your beds? Just 2x6's nailed together? Also, what are the dimensions? I think we'll just do one bed this year, but if I am successful, I would love to have a place like yours. We have a big enough backyard to line one side with beds. That would be awesome!

Thanks everyone! It's raining today, but I think this weekend, I will go buy the rest of the stuff needed and get it started. Thanks for the websites too!


 o
RE: Need help in starting a raised bed veggie garden - Soil Mixtu

I use The Square Foot Gardener method and built a 4x4 bed above ground (2x10x8 were the wood dimensions). The soil mix the book recommends is expensive but pays off in the long run:
1 bale peat moss - 6 cubic feet
1 large bag of coarse vermiculite - 4 cubic feet
10 pails (2.5 gallon size) of sand
10 pails (2.5 gallon size) compost
1 coffee can full of lime
1 coffee can full of organic fertilizers

Good luck with your garden!


 o
RE: Need help in starting a raised bed veggie garden - Soil Mixtu

  • Posted by ishoot z8 Red Oak, Tx (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 18, 09 at 11:27

SCgirl, I used untreated 2x12 lumber and heavy duty deck screws, and the bed dimensions are 4x8 feet. For each bed I took three eight foot pieces, and cut one in half to make the ends. Avoid the pressure treated lumber ( the CCA stands for copper, chromium, and arsenic). Cedar is best, just make sure you're sitting down when they tell you the price...you can still get a few seasons out of plain untreated lumber and save some money.
The floor you see is landscape fabric, which will let moisture through but keep down the grass. I'll cover the pathways with cedar mulch. Inside the beds, I'll cut out the landscape fabric so I'll have a good soil interface for earthworms and beneficial microbes. Before the soil goes in I'll add a layer of cardboard just to make sure no grass/weeds have a chance to peek through.

Here is a link that might be useful: Raised bed material analysis


 o
RE: Need help in starting a raised bed veggie garden - Soil Mixtu

To save money on soil, I noticed that Lowe's has broken bags of organic compost,humas , manure,gardening soil and such.They cut the price by 50% so that does make it more affordable.Just as the garden folks to help you locate the bags and they will even put them in a clear plastic bag for you.


 o
RE: Need help in starting a raised bed veggie garden - Soil Mixtu

I'm busy with my first sfg/victory garden and found a mix from Bergers Horticultural in Hopkins county - it has everything mixed in it already, including vermiculite and peat moss, and is about $4 for 3 cubic feet.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Texas Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here