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The Gardener’s Guide to Raised Bed Soil

Any experienced gardener can tell you that even seemingly small mistakes can be the difference between a bountiful crop and a baron one. One of these common mistakes? Using the wrong soil or planting in a soil stripped of its nutrients. The solution? Raised Bed Gardening with the best soil for raised beds!

Today, we’ll give you the dirt on raised bed soil mix, from what makes the best soil for raised beds, how raised bed soil mix differs from gardening soil, and how to layer your raised bed soil for optimal results this gardening season.

Let’s dig in!

Aerial shot of woman weeding a raised bed in a vegetable garden.

What Makes Great Raised Bed Soil?

When it comes to the prosperity of your plants, the nutrients they are getting (or not getting) from the soil will inevitably affect your harvest. For starters, the soil should not feel like sand or clay. If it does, it likely lacks the nutrition and right amount of volume it needs to support your plants. Good raised bed soil will be moist and loose but not crumbly.

“Okay, then what’s the secret to a great raised bed soil mix?”

We’re glad you asked! The “secret” to getting the best soil for raised beds (and any other garden soil) is organic matter. Things like recycled forest products, coir, perlite, dehydrated poultry manure, composted poultry manure, hydrolyzed feather meal, peat moss, kelp meal, worm castings, and bat guano are packed with nutrients your plants need to thrive.

Not sure where you can get bat guano? We’ve got you covered! Our Organic Raised Bed Soil. is jam-packed with all of these nutrient-rich ingredients to help promote the healthy growth of your fruits, vegetables, herbs, and plants.

How is Raised Bed Soil Different From Garden Soil?

It might surprise you to learn that there are a few key Differences Between Garden Soil and Raised Bed Soil. For starters, garden soil and raised bed soil are cultivated in different ways to support plants growing in the ground versus in a container/raised bed. What’s more, raised bed soil for the garden is cultivated with a pH balance between 5.8 and 7.5, taking the guesswork out of the quality of your soil.

Unlike garden soil, raised bed soil can be described as a combination of garden soil and potting mix, offering both drainage and adequate airflow container plants need to thrive in their enclosed environments.

Another key difference is maintenance. For raised bed gardening, soil comes ready to use in a bag, it already has the proper nutrients it needs to support plants. While garden soil can definitely improve the composition of your existing soil, nutrient replenishment throughout the growing season is still recommended.

Raised planter box for growing vegetables and flowers

5 Steps to Layering Raised Bed Soil

Now, there are a few different ways you can Layer Raised Bed Soil. The first is to fill the entire container with a raised bed soil (recommended for smaller raised beds). The second is a 5-step layering system involving the hugelkultur technique of adding rotting wood to the soil, which offers many benefits to your raised bed garden over the years.

1.   Make a Bed of Wood

Using stumps from your soil delivery or twigs and branches, layer the wood pieces at the bottom of the raised bed. You can also add in newspaper or manure.

2. Layer Loam or Soil & Compost

If you have a tall raised garden bed, this will be your thickest layer. This middle layer can consist of older (but clean and infestation-free) native or Potting Soil, Organic Compost, grass clippings, and leaf mold.

3. Layer Mulch

A thin layer of mulch can go a long way in your raised bed, helping break down the compost and nutrients into the soil for the plants to feed from.

4. Add Fertilizer

As your mulch breaks down, it tends to take away some of the available nitrogen from the soil and compost. To help restore nitrogen, add a layer of All-Purpose Organic Fertilizer.

5. Top It Off with Organic Raised Bed Soil

Saving the best for last, finish layering with 6-12” of organic raised bed soil. You can leave some wiggle room at the top or fill it up since soil will likely settle a bit after watering.

Ready for more? Don’t forget to download our expert tips and tricks on planning, planting, and harvesting your raised bed garden. As leaders in Organic Gardening, it’s our job to provide you with the right garden products, tips, tools, and tricks to help you master the art of growing a fruitful harvest. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been running a homestead for years, we’re certain there is a Kellogg Organic Soil to help you achieve and maintain a happy, thriving garden. Find our soil at one of your local retailers today!

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