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Soil improvement of raised beds

Dear Sir/Madam  

I am considering constructing raised beds for my father (78 years old) who has grown veg etc in his garden for many, many years. Over this time I have seen his crop of vegetables get less and less (some not even growing) due to all the nutrients being used up in the soil. What I would like to ask is how best to fill these raised beds with soil that will feed the growing plants. Do I use the existing soil and mix in some form of horse manure. If so, how do I go about mixing in e.g. how much, and what time of year. If I cannot get horse manure what other options do I have, and again how and when would I use them. I assume what ever I use to help improve the soil has to be then done every year. If I can't get manure my concern is that improving the soil will be costly. Any advise you may be able to give would be greatly appreciated, as I would like my father to continue to enjoy his garden.  

Kind Regards 


  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601

    You could buy in topsoil or add well rotted manure. You can buy manure from stables or other local suppliers or from garden centres It doesn't have to be horse muck, farmyard muck is good too, as is chicken, but in smaller amounts.. However, the soil will always need feeding, depending on what you grow and it would be worth looking up the needs of various crops. Again, what you feed is a personal choice: organic or chemical such as blood fish and bone and chicken manure and so on.

    When you make the raised beds you should mix in the manure but later feeding can be a mulch or something forked in the top .The amounts you use depend on the crop and how 'hungry' it is. It would be a good idea to start your own compost bin, too, so that you can use this as a soil improver.

  • Hi

    Thank you very much for taking the time to offer the advice. I think I will start by looking at local stables for manure and possibly pricing the topsoil. I would like, if possible, to keep things organic but I would assume it to be difficult to source fully organic products unless you are willing to pay a lot of money.

    Thanks again!

  • I would buy in some bags of well  rotted farmyard manure from a garden centre ... it's not expensive and will be free of weedseeds, which isn't always the case with manure direct from stables.  

    I would also add some Fish Blood & Bone which is a slow release organic fertiliser, also obtainable in packs from garden centres.  ... use it before sowing ieach spring according to the directions on the pack and that should really revitalise your father's veg patch.

    Best of luck to him and his veggies image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Hi

    Thanks for your time and advice. I will start looking into the cost of these products, but if I was to make a few raised beds my thought is that it would be expensive, as I am guessing you would have to put a lot into the beds.

    Thanks again.


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