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compost heap
soil mixture
flowers and shrubs
garden centres
vegetable gardens
paramount importance
Raised Bed Soil
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The mixture of soil that we put into our raised bed is of paramount importance especially if we are using the beds for vegetables, however if the raised beds are to be used for flowers or shrubs then a standard mix will suffice. Either way we need to be vigilant as this is the foundation bed which hopefully will serve us for many years to come. The soil can be purchased locally at various outlets like garden centres or building contractors may also have some left over from a recent project. For a typical raised bed say 8ft x 4ft, this will require a car trailer load, so look around your locality for options for same.

Soil for vegetables: Great care needs to be observed when laying out the soil mixture for vegetable raised beds. In order to provide healthy vegetables for our table, this is a combination that has used in the past and has worked well for all types of veg. The ratio is 50% topsoil, and the remainder is a combination of well rotted farmyard manure, some peat, some compost and a good organic fertiliser. Your local garden centre will advise on what is best to use, this again depends on what types of veg we are planting. If we had to categorise each vegetable differently we would need an online library – so we look at what is the best common combination to suit all.

Soil for flowers and shrubs: A standard mixture works well for these, ie good grade topsoil plus maybe some organic material from our own compost heap will be sufficient here. Sand is often added to some raised beds where the soil is a clay texture, this will loosen the soil and allows air to flow through and will give us better drainage. When both the flower and vegetable gardens are established, our biggest concern is the watering issue. We need to be very watchful to ensure that the raised bed soil does not become parched, especially if we are in high summer and we are experiencing a dry spell.

Soil maintenance in a raised bed: Mulching is a great idea for the raised beds as this will suppress weeds and will prevent moisture loss. If we have our first year completed in the raised bed experience, we will now be much more educated as to how easy this process has become compared to the old-style gardening methods that we used. What is now required as we face into late fall or early winter is some maintenance and early planning for next year. The best addition to the raised beds at this time of the year is some more farmyard manure and well composted material like decayed leaves. Fork well into the soil and leave same to breakdown over the winter.

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