Is 50:50 Soil Sufficient to Accommodate Raised Garden Beds?
Once the structure of the raised garden beds is ready, the next step you should take is to fill them with soil and prepare them for planting. However, before adding soil, you need to determine what type of soil should be added and what the ratio of topsoil to compost should be. 50/50 soil is one of the most popular choices on the market – but is it good for raised garden beds?
50/50 soil is suitable for raised garden beds. This blend is very popular in American gardens to ensure that your plants are healthy and nutritious. However, some people find it expensive to add 50% compost. If so, you can change the ratio - from 70/30 to 95/5.
Understand 50/50 soil mix
The 50/50 soil mixture is essentially a soil mixture consisting of 50% screened topsoil and 50% compost. Some soil mixtures will include other organic matter rather than just compost, making the composition 50% topsoil and 50% organic matter.
This soil mixture is designed to ensure that your plants have enough nutrients and that you do not need to add more organic matter to the soil soon.
Depending on how much organic matter they want to add to the soil, some people will also fill about 3/4 of their garden beds (both raised and traditional) with 50/50 soil, and then add additional compost layers to the last 1/4.
Some people make compost themselves, while others buy compost in bulk and mix their 50/50 soil. Alternatively, you can purchase pre mixed 50/50 soil.
The main challenge with 50/50 soils is that if you mix your own and use commercial compost, it can be expensive. This is why many people prefer to use compost less mixtures, especially if they have many raised garden beds to fill.
What is screened topsoil?
As mentioned above, 50/50 soil mixtures (and other types of soil mixtures) use screened topsoil as one of their components.
Screened topsoil is topsoil that has been filtered to remove any debris that may hinder the growth of plant roots. This includes rocks, soil lumps and sticks.
You can filter the topsoil in your home. All you need is a topsoil and mesh soil screen from your garden or backyard. Remember that topsoil is uncorrected soil. If you have enriched the garden soil before, it will not be counted as topsoil.
Once you have topsoil and a sieve, the next step is to get the soil through the sieve. By selecting the screen size, you can select the fineness of the topsoil you want to screen. The standard option is to choose a 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) grid, but you may prefer finer or rougher soil.
After passing the soil through the sieve, the soil passing through is the screened topsoil.
Unscreened topsoil is usually used to build the bottom of the garden bed, on which you can place the soil mixture. It is also used for construction projects, such as filling holes in the lawn or leveling the slopes of the backyard.
However, if you do not have space for unshielded topsoil and do not expect to use it soon, you are free to throw it away.
The best soil for your raised garden bed
A number of factors determine the soil mix for your raised garden bed, including your budget. However, one of the most important considerations is what plants you plant on the raised garden bed.
Different plants need different types of soil.
For example, vegetables grow best in loam. This soil is an equal mixture of sandy soil, clay and silt.
However, soil without organic matter is not conducive to plant growth. In addition, loam cannot be produced by simply "mixing" the above soils together.
On the contrary, to make fertile loam for your raised garden bed, you need to add organic substances such as compost, leaves and straw to ensure that your loam is nutritious and conducive to the growth of plant roots.
On the other hand, flowers like blue hydrangea need acid soil to grow. This means that you need to add acidifiers to the soil to ensure that these flowers grow normally, which will affect your soil mix.
Ultimately, matching your plant to the soil mixture is critical to making the most of your raised garden bed.
How much soil is needed for a raised garden bed
As noted above, one concern about the use of 50/50 soil mixtures in gardens is the cost. However, if you have just started gardening with raised garden beds, you may wonder how this works - after all, isn't the cost of soil relatively affordable?
Many people don't realize how much soil is needed for gardening, especially for gardening with raised garden beds.
To calculate how much soil a rectangular or square bed requires, you should multiply by the size of each bed. This means that you will multiply the length, width, and height of each bed. The resulting figure is the volume of soil required to raise the garden bed.
Therefore, if your bed is 6 feet (1.83 meters) long, 4 feet (1.22 meters) wide, and 1.5 feet (0.48 meters) high, you will get a volume of 36 cubic feet (1.02 cubic meters).
Generally, soil is sold in cubic yards. If you start with a number in cubic feet and need to determine how many cubic yards of soil are needed, divide the cubic feet by 27. Therefore, for a volume of 36 cubic feet (1.02 cubic meters), divide by 27 to get 1.3 cubic yards (1.02 cubic meters).
This only applies to single raised garden beds. If you have more than one bed, the cost will increase rapidly.
Even if you buy compost instead of mixed soil mixtures, the cost can be prohibitive for many people. This is why many people prefer to use the topsoil in their gardens to make their own mixes and add readily available organic substances such as leaves - or use kitchen waste to make their own compost.
The 50/50 soil mix is a good choice for raised garden beds, but it is not the only option available. If you prefer less composting alternatives to reduce costs, you can also use 70/30 or lower soils - up to 95/5 soils.
You should always match the soil you use with the plants you plan to plant. This may require adjusting the proportion of your favorite soil mixture or including specific soil amendments to create ideal soil conditions.