CLEVELAND, Ohio — Last week we explored the three basic ingredients that make a good soil for raised beds: compost, filler (such as peat moss or coconut coir), and grit (often vermiculite or perlite). This week, we’ll look at different raised bed recipes, from prebagged mixes to completely do-it-yourself to options in between.
Best for newbies: Prebagged mixes. Garden centers and big box stores have bags of raised bedding mix available this time of year, and if you are just starting out with vegetable gardening, it’s a great option. To figure out how much you need, a quick Google search will pull up soil calculators that will tell you how much you need based on the length and width of your bed and assuming 6 to 8 inches depth. For a 4 foot by 4 foot raised bed with 6 inches of soil, that would be 8 cubic feet of soil (4x4x0.5), or about five bags of soil packaged in 1.5 cubic feet. The convenience is great, but at about $10 to 12 a bag, the cost adds up quickly.