Hey there friends! Today is a really fun post! If you have gotten the gardening bug this year, this is just the right post for you. I Today I want to share one of my most favorite gardening tips to creating a beautiful garden by learning how to fill a raised garden bed while saving soil and money! This will guarantee your vegetable garden will take off and produce amazing results. There are so many benefits of raised garden beds and I want to share how I created this easy tutorial to fill them for less.
Having raised garden beds is pretty much a game changer in my life right now. We have really difficult soil, which is full of clay and we have spent years trying to improve it. We finally decided we needed to build some raised planter boxes so that I could grow the smaller vegetables with ease.
I cannot believe how much better all of my plants are doing int he raised garden beds. I have a feeling it has something to do with the combination of organic composts, topsoil, and loamy soil that we combined.
When we started building our raised garden beds, we knew we could not afford to fill all the beds completely with this amazing rich and expensive soil, and I began to research ways to fill our garden beds.
I finally settled on a way that worked perfectly for us, with our resources. This is not a new thing, and its not something I invented, but I loved the concept and thought it would be helpful to share my experience with it.
Its all about the layering. There is this thing you can do to help fill those garden boxes, without filling them entirely with nutrient rich soil and compost. There is a bonus to this, because the items you use in the bottom will eventually turn into amazingly mulched compost that will feed your raised garden beds for years.
So, lets talk about how to fill a raised garden bed while saving money and soil.
What you will need to fill your raised garden bed:
- sticks, twigs, or wood stumps(organic matter)
- landcape fabric (we got ours from Home Depot)
- gravel or rocks for drainage
- grass clippings and/or straw
- combination of sandy soil, vermiculite, organic compost, peat moss, potting soil or good garden soil
The first thing we did with our planter boxes is staple plastic sheeting as well as landscape fabric to the bottoms and sides to prevent weeds from coming up through them. For the best result, we made sure to use both and layer them. This will prevent weeds coming through.
We then laid down twigs, logs, and tree branches to the base of the raised garden beds. The kind of wood is not that important. We did this to the entire bed floor. What we wanted was to create a garden box that had good drainage, and over time, the wood will break down and turn into amazing compost. This is a great way to fill in some of those cubic yards with more affordable options that will also help improve your garden bed.
Next we added some larger gravel to fill in around the wood. This will create some nice drainage in your raised bed garden. Drainage is important. You do not want your soil to be boggy and water logged. If it is boggy it will have poor drainage, and the gravel and wood will help improve you drainage and is a great option. Doing the hard work now is important to having a bountiful garden.
We then added a layer of grass clippings straight from our back yard. We made sure that none of it had been sprayed with weed killer or fertilizer so that it would be as organic as possible. Over time these grass clippings will break down and help create some amazing garden soil. The soil level will depend on how much space you want for your plant roots. We wanted about 12 inches of good soil.
Next, we added a layer of straw. This filled about 1/2 of the garden beds. So already, we only have to fill the garden beds with 1/2 the amount of dirt, and over time, the wood, grass clippings and straw will turn into a great compost. You can add more or less depending on your preferences.
After these were laid down, we added a layer of a sandy soil that we got from a local friend. This served a couple purposed. First, it helped to fill in any holes or voids in the rocks/straw/wood combination. Second, it weighs down the material underneath adding a bit of pressure which will help with the process of decomposition. And last, it will mix with the organic compost, vermiculite and other garden soil to create a well balanced soil.
The last thing we did was add a thick layer of organic compost, vermiculite, organic mulch and organic garden bed soil. This created a nice loose soil and also great soil quality. We also added more of the sandy soil in with the compost and garden bed soil. We mixed this all together, adding more of each if needed. The weight of the added soil will add pressure to the organic matter at the bottom and encourage decomposition. The excess water will drain through the gravel and wood at the base of the garden planters.
This made a really great combination and the soil was soft, loamy, and had so many great benefits to it. I would say this is a very good idea whether you plan to grow an herb garden, edible plants, root vegetables and so much more. This is an easy project for new gardeners, and created great growing conditions for your plants.
We built 11 raised garden beds and we saved a lot of money doing it this way, and as time passes, the layers underneath with break down and benefit the soil. The soil will settle and you may need to add more as things break down.
Its been about 1 month since I planted my seeds in my raised garden beds, and I cannot believe how amazing my plants are doing! I am on my way to a great garden
The soil is so easy to work with, it is workable, soft and has that dark, healthy look to it. And let’s talk about weeds? I haven’t had any! With little effort, I have been able to be successful in my garden growing this year. By layering organic matter to the bottom of the raised garden beds, you do not have to use as much soil, which can save you quite a bit of money.,
It is very obvious to me this year, that the change in the soil has made a huge difference in our garden production so far. Last year, our soil was difficult and we decided it was time to take a different approach to growing a garden without all the hard work. This may look a little different to begin with, but it has transformed my method of
For years I have tried to plant golden beets in the ground(they are the most amazing beets ever), in our difficult soil, and I have not had success yet…that is, until this year. They have produced like crazy and have burst into life, giving us a huge bounty this year. This is definitely the easy way to grow a garden in my opinion.
Some things to consider
- With the layering practice, you may experience some settling in the raised garden beds, especially after you begin watering, but this is easily fixed. You can gradually add more soil, or wait until the end of your harvest and you can add more then. If you plan to plant root vegetables such as carrots or potatoes, make sure your soil is deep enough. You can gradually add soil on top of your potatoes as they grow.
- You can use items from your own backyard or recruit your neighbors and offer to take the grass clippings and other items off their hands. We used the limbs from our peach trees, which we had to prune anyways. We also used spent straw from our goats and chickens that was full of that good organic fertilizer(manure).
- You can also find a local saw mill(and ask them for wood chips) or get a chip drop, which some large cities do. This can be the base of your layers. Old tree roots or discards from the lumber yard would work too. Just make sure not to use any treated lumber.
, Want more great gardening tips and tricks? Check these amazing posts out below!
How to Start a Hydrangea Plant – Happy Happy Nester
Cut Flower Gardening – The Ginger Home
Most Common Garden Tools And Their Uses – Shabbyfufu
Unique Container Ideas For Garden Planting – Sanctuary Home Decor
How to Grow Fresh Tomatoes – My 100 Year Old Home
Simple Tips from a Green Thumber – Craftberry Bush
Make the Most of Your Small Garden – Most Lovely Things
How to Use Ornamental Grasses in Your Landscaping – The Happy Housie
Anthropologie-Inspired Succulent Planter – Modern Glam
3 Tips For Creating Window Boxes and Planters – Lemon Grove Lane
DIY Succulent Garden Cake – My Sweet Savannah
Small Space Gardening – Dreaming of Homemaking
Garden Design and Trellis DIY – Finding Lovely
Lake House Garden with Peonies – Styled With Lace
How to Fill A Raised Garden Bed and Save Soil – Twelve on Main