Soil Mixture for Filling a Raised Bed Garden

Dirt Exchange in Ballard, SeattleRaised garden beds are quite popular in urban settings.  Small lots of neatly arranged gardens can produce a good amount of output if implemented properly.  Often there is a struggle to fill them with teh best soil and get the best growing results.

There are many ways to fill a raised bed garden. Perhaps you have your own compost bin for composting your chicken manure and litter. You can use dirt from your yard and add in soil amendments to make it more beneficial. If you need more dirt than you have there are solutions even in the urban city.  Landscape supply houses will have what you need and it will be more reasonable than big box home and garden stores.

My neighbor built his raised bed for his front yard. To fill the raised bed he needed dirt. Another neighbor had ordered dirt from a local landscape company that supplies rocks, sand, and compost. I was completely unaware that there was a facility like this one a mile away from my home.

We went to the dirt exchange in Ballard under the bridge. They have various sorts of gravel in different sizes as well as mulch and dirt. They also carry several sizes of quarry rock from huge boulders to drainage fill as well.

Cart full of soilWe were there to get soil for raised garden beds. The staff at the dirt exchange suggested a soil mixture from two part or a three part. The two-part mixture consisted of equal amounts of sand and compost. The three-part mixture was made from sand compost and loam. The three-part mixture was light and drained well which is good for growing vegetables. We get a lot of rain and we do not want water standing to drown out small plants or to make roots rot. In some drier areas you might want to have a small percentage of pine bark added to retain water. It will help keep your plant roots from becoming too dry should you miss a watering.

A yard of three-way veggie mix was dumped into the bed of the pickup truck. The three-way mix consisted of finer particles and was light with a slightly earthy aroma to it. Being light and airy is a good thing for plant roots. Plant roots need water and they need oxygen. Soil that packs too densely will prevent water from draining. This can lead to root rot and also limits how much oxygen the roots of the plants can get.

Proper soil selection and composition is important especially for those with limited growing space.  Optimize your resources to get the best gains and don’t be afraid to compost your chicken bedding and dropping to supplement your soil and help grow the best raised bed garden possible.  It can be a great resource to provide for your table as well as for the chickens.  Make your garden bed an integral part of your system and incorporate it with the chickens the best you can.

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