Post by nofeargardener on Mar 21, 2011 9:45:27 GMT -6
I've been working on some raised beds this year. As part of that, I obviously need to fill them with good soil. I don't have land (or much of it) so there really wasn't any place for me to dig some up and move it to my beds.
So... I went to the nursery and purchased some "organic garden soil." I first tilled up the soil in the bottom of the raised bed and then put in my organic garden soil, and mixed it all up together. I also have some compost I'll be mixing in as well.
That said, organic garden soil is expensive. So I wondered about the cheap stuff... the bags of "regular top soil." It's about half the price. Didn't know how safe it was to grow food in. Thought about mixing in a couple/few bags of the top soil (in addition to some organic garden soil) to save a few bucks.
Thoughts? Opinions? Stay clear of the top soil? A little bagged top soil ok?
Post by Pharmer Phil on Mar 21, 2011 11:43:03 GMT -6
Top soil will be fine, just amend it with organic material, peat if you have it, sand...compost Just Mix it with what you already have, make a nice loose soil and you should be fine... Stay clear of municipal compost sources, they sometimes have a lot of herbicides and excess phosphorous.
Unless you are going organic I say don't bother worrying about it. I think that everything is "organic" My Dad always says just grow it in the ground. Keep composting and next year you might have enough for yourself.
The problem with getting ordiary garden soil as I see it would be that you are buying the weeds from whatever garden the soil has come from.
Iffin you are in or near a rural farming area and can find straw, small bales are the best but it don't matter much, just fill your raised garden up with as much straw as you can get in and press down then keep it watered with a high nitrogen type manure to increase the speed of decomposition of the straw. Hopefully the straw will heat up for a while and if so, as soon as it cools down enough you can plant straight into it.
If you do some research you will find that the original market gardens were from England and France. they would replenish there plots with horse manure every season keeping a healthy pile of composting horse manure for your raised beds will produce excellent vegetables.
For Organic purposes the compost has to reach 131deg. for three days and the pile has to be turned every few days the pile should maintain at least 131deg. with no problem.