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What Is The Best Soil for Raised Beds?

By: Jessie Keith

What Is The Best Soil for Raised Beds?

“I built 2 beds measuring 4′ x 16′ and 2 foot deep.  I don’t think I need a Black Gold mix for the bottom half.  What is something I could [add to] the bottom half of the boxes?  Also are Black Gold products meant as a supplement to the soil or a soil replacement?” Question from Kevin or Rome, Georgia

Answer: We have many amendments and soils suitable for raised bed gardening, but we have just begun to sell a new natural raised bed soil that is specially formulated for this type of growing. Black Gold® Natural & Organic Raised Bed & Potting Mix is just for raised bed gardening, is sold in cost-effective large bales, and is OMRI Listed for organic gardening. If you wish to supplement with additional soils or amendments, try the following bulk and/or bagged options.

  1. Quality screened bulk compost, leaf compost, or mushroom compost – These are all rich and fortifying but high in organic matter, which eventually breaks down over time and needs to be replenished.
  2. Quality screened bulk topsoil – Topsoil contains mineral soil as well as organic matter, so not all of its components will break down over time.
  3. Bagged compost, such as Black Gold Garden Compost Blend – This is a good option for smaller-scale raised bed gardening. Treat it as you would bulk compost.

Products sold in bulk are generally available at large landscape supply centers and are sold by the yard. Before ordering any soil, be sure you know how much you need by using the soil application formula. Also, be sure to feed your soil with quality fertilizer formulated for vegetable gardening.

Soil Application Formula

([area to cover] ft2 x [depth in inches desired] x 0.0031 = ___ yd3).

Example: If you wanted to cover a 20 square foot area with 2 inches of compost, the result would be: 20 ft2 x 2 inches of compost x 0.0031 = 2.48 yd3.

(For more tips click here for a full overview of how to prep a new vegetable garden from start to finish.)

I hope that these tips help.

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

About Jessie Keith


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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