Garden planning?

Building Raised Garden Beds & Soil Mix

Raised vegetable garden bed

A raised vegetable garden bed has many benefits.

After 9 years of gardening in both raised vegetable garden beds and ground level, I much prefer the raised beds.

Raised vegetable garden benefits:

  • Better drainage
  • Earlier snow melt in the spring
  • Early soil warming (which means earlier spring sowing!)
  • Control over your soil amendments (they don’t wash away as easily)
  • They look beautiful
  • Great for deep rooted crops like root vegetables
  • Deeper soil has been known for larger plants because of better root expansion
  • Sometimes reduced weeds, especially ones that spread by roots and rhizomes not just seeds.
Building new raised garden beds & soil mix

Our raised vegetable garden bed

The wood for our raised bed was pine, cedar would have been great as it doesn’t rot as fast as other wood.

Building raised vegetable garden beds

We made our raised vegetable garden bed 4’x8′, 12 feet deep, which is a nice large size.

We added supports in the corner of the beds to reduce warping

The soil for our raised garden beds was purchased in bags

I wish we knew someone to get topsoil from but we didn’t. Our clay soil has been challenging to grow food in. It’s full of weed seeds and will take years to build up. We chose to not use any ‘free’ clay soil in our new garden beds.

Soil mix for raised garden beds

The nice thing about new garden beds is that you add fresh soil, there’s a reduced chance of lots of weeds.

Whenever we’ve used free soil it’s full of weed seeds. Not always worth it.

Soil mix for raised garden beds

Organic soil mix for raised garden bed

  • Our homemade compost mix at the bottom layer
  • Sunshine mix #4 Organic mix (we used 3 bales, which are 3.8 cubic ft each)
  • 6 bags of Organic Top Soil (we used Island’s Finest)
  • 6 bag of organic compost (Island’s Finest here in Canada)

I sowed fast growing fall crops in our raised vegetable garden beds as it’s August. There are certain crops better suited to raised vegetable garden beds. 

Do you have raised vegetable garden beds? How did you make yours? Do you have a fav soil mix?

Building raised vegetable garden beds


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  1. I have two galvanized raised beds (17 inches deep) as well as 8 tubs (16 inches deep). I’ve been using the tubs for 7 years and I fill them with organic container mix. I don’t start fresh each year I just add more mix or compost if not much of the soil has drained out over the winter. I set my raised galvanized beds up a year and a half ago. The mix I used the first year was 1/2 organic raised bed mix (expensive), 1/4 top soil and 1/4 compost. This year in the spring I added compost to the raised beds. My tubs always do terrific very few weeds veggies grow beautifully my only issue with the tubs: they need to be watered everyday in the heat of the summer because they drain so well. I added the raised beds to replace the tubs but I’ve continued to use both because I always buy too many seedlings. The raised beds also drain very well and need watered every other day. I’m thinking of adding drip irrigation to them next season. I’m adding another raised bed next spring again to get rid of the tubs (doubtful). This time I’m going to try 50/50 top soil and compost. FYI, I garden in Maryland in zone 7.

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