Raised Beds

Asked May 3, 2016, 10:20 PM EDT

My fiancé and I just installed three raised garden beds in our backyard. We have two garden beds that are 4x4x2 feet and another garden bed is 6x2x1 feet. Our question is what is the best mix of soil to get started with growing our own vegetables? We are willing to invest in some quality soil and would like to grow organically. One of the larger raised beds will be used for tomatoes. We haven't decided what the other beds will be used for but likely a mix of peppers, carrots, onions or maybe potatoes. Do you know of any books or other resources to help us get started?

Hennepin County Minnesota raised bed gardening raised bed soil mixture

4 Responses

Thank you for the question. A good soil mix for raised beds consists of one part fertile well-drained soil, one part compost, and one part coarse sand, perlite or vermiculite. We don't recommend particular vendors who sell organic soil but a simple internet search will provide multiple options. There are organic raised bed soils that can be purchased by the yard and delivered for a fee. Usually, when you call to order, they will help you figure out how much you need and it won't be cheap. To know what you're getting, it is often recommended that you visit vendors you are considering to look at the soil first hand. None of the materials that were used to make the raised bed soil should be recognizable and it should look like coarse soil with an earthy smell. These Extension publications will help you get started:

Thank you for contacting Extension.

Thanks so much for the response! You mentioned: good soil mix for raised beds consists of one part fertile well-drained soil, one part compost, and one part coarse sand, perlite or vermiculite.

Just to clarify. Should all three components of the soil mixture you mentioned (soil, compost and sand/perlite) be mixed together or should they be layered within the raised bed in a specific order?

Thanks so much for the response! You mentioned: good soil mix for raised beds consists of one part fertile well-drained soil, one part compost, and one part coarse sand, perlite or vermiculite.

Just to clarify. Should all three components of the soil mixture you mentioned (soil, compost and sand/perlite) be mixed together or should they be layered within the raised bed in a specific order?

Good question! The ingredients should be well mixed.