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How to Fill Your Raised Beds for Cheap

Save Money on Soil for Your Garden Beds

· garden

Did you know the best way to save money on garden beds is to use layers?

Garden soil is one of the most expensive parts of gardening and it’s also the reason so many people decide not to garden. When I see beautiful raised beds 4 boards high, the first thing I think is, “I hope they didn’t fill those completely with soil.” There are so many materials you can use to layer your bed and save money but I will cover the two I use: debris and soil mix.

Yard Debris

When filling your garden bed for the first time, you want to first layer your bottom with debris. Debris can be a combination of small or large sticks (depending on the depth of your bed), leaves, and cardboard. You can even dump kitchen scraps that were headed to the compost pile. Create a good base layer of material first. Remember this layer doesn’t have to be thick with nutrients. The roots of your baby plants will take time to grow that deep (if ever). The way to save money is not by wasting good nutrients on the bottom layer.

Soil Mix

The next layer in your bed should be top soil. Top soil is cheap because it’s just dirt with no nutrients. It’s a great filler to put between your debris and your good garden soil.

The final layer before your plants go in is a soil mix. To get the most bang for your buck use a mix of garden soil, peat moss, and compost. When you mix in peat moss with your garden soil and compost, it helps keep the soil light and airy which helps air flow for your plants to absorb nutrients. It also allows for better drainage.

soil layer example, how to build soil in raised beds

Using a layer method will save you money when starting out a new bed. When starting your new raised bed garden, it's also important to have the right tools. Let me know what has worked for you. Did you layer your beds? What material did you use?

Happy Gardening!

- Kristen

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