Best mulch/soil for planter beds?

Asked April 29, 2020, 3:37 PM EDT

Hi there - I’m new to home gardening and building a few 12x3 planter beds this weekend. I was wondering what’s best to fill them with? Soil from the forest near my home (I have a rotten leaf pile, should I include that?) Or should I buy some mulch, and if so what kind?

Kent County Michigan

1 Response

Thank you for your question. There probably isn't one ideal solution for filling your raised bed. Using soil from a forested area would most likely upset the forest ecology. A mix of native soil and/or topsoil with equal parts compost is a common solution. Rotted leaves would be a good topping to you beds supplying some good organic material. A soil test after filling your beds would help you determine any adjustments you may need (http://homesoiltest.msu.edu/). Check out the following links for additional information:
https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/starting-a-raised-bed-garden
https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/faq/what-would-be-good-soil-mix-raised-bed-0
https://ucanr.edu/sites/mginyomono/files/139680.pdf
Let us know if you need additional assistance.
I hope this is helpful,