Choosing the right topsoil for raised beds – Raised beds are undoubtedly one of the most convenient ways of growing herbs, vegetables, flowers and fruit. They’re accessible, neat and easily managed.
The best size …….
The idea of raised beds is that you never have to step on the soil. That way there’s no compaction and in theory you won’t ever need to dig them over.
Height-wise it needs to be at least 15cm deep to accommodate enough soil to grow deep rooted veggies in. Some may prefer it to be a bit taller so they don’t have to stoop quite so much. 30cm is a good compromise and works well, some people are more comfortable with 60cm, therefore can be measured depending on your own personal preference.
How much topsoil do you need to fill a raised bed?
It’s very easy to calculate the amount of soil you need for your raised bed. Simply measure the length, width and height of the bed in metres and then multiply the three figures together. For example, raised beds that are 1.2 metres long, 1.2 metres wide and 0.3 metres deep Each one will need: 1.2 x 1.2 x 0.3 = 0.43 cubic metres of soil For raised beds that are 1 metre wide, 1 metre long and 0.6 metres deep You would need 1 x 1 x 0.6 = 0.6 cubic metres of soil One of our bulk bags of soil holds roughly 0.72 cubic metres of soil
What sort of topsoil is best for raised beds?
It needs to have plenty of organic matter so that it will retain water – but on the other hand, it must have enough drainage so that it won’t get sticky or waterlogged in wet weather. When moving the soil to fill the raised beds – a wheelbarrow full of organic topsoil weighs considerably less than a wheelbarrow full of sandy loam, which is much better for well being. This soil is great for potting up plants in the greenhouse and the polytunnel too. It’s a bit too rich for raising seedlings but great for nurturing young plants. Go easy on the nitrogen fertiliser though. This soil is so rich in nutrients that you really don’t need to add many more. The only drawback with this soil is that it does tend to oxidise so the beds need topping up every couple of years. I find home-made compost is good for this.
Where to buy topsoil for raised beds
The big bags are a bit unwieldy but Turfonline will unload them from the lorry for you and you won’t have a big heap of loose soil on your driveway. All you need to do is shovel it from the bag into a wheelbarrow and then tip it into your raised beds. It’s not perishable so there’s no rush. You can take your time.