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Lockdown raised bed advice for a newbie, Help!

Hello,
I'm new to veggie growing and have been very keen to get started as this is the first summer in my own house, so I have invested in a tiered planter/raised bed to grow veggies. It requires a fair amount of compost/soil to fill it and due to lockdown restrictions/supply issues for gardening stores, I have struggled to get hold of enough topsoil to make the right ratio with the compost. I read online that ideally it should be 20% compost and the rest topsoil, with a layer of grit on the bottom. 
I've managed to get about a 50/50 ratio so have done this in layers: grit, compost, topsoil, compost. I am aware that when the growing season has ended, compost isn't usually re-used but in this instance how would I prep my raised bed for growing next year without taking it all out and starting again having had to use so much compost this year?

This might be a really silly question to the more experienced gardeners but it seems like a big deal to a newbie worrying about getting it all wrong so any advice is greatly appreciated!

Thanks :)

Posts

  • herbaceousherbaceous E. BerksPosts: 2,257
    Do you have access to good old garden soil @frankie.ogden ?  The growing season is by no means over depending on what you are expecting to plant. I am still sowing lettuces, peas, dwarf beans and beetroot to name just a few.

    I have been 'getting it wrong' for years now!  There's nothing like a failure to spark off the next experiment and experience is worth as much as instruction so keep going  :)
    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 39,235
    The growing season has barely started here, so don't worry  :)
    Garden soil is fine to use, so if you have any - use that to bulk up your bed. Most veg will be perfectly happy if there's more compost than soil - it's really just a guide. The reason for having more soil is because it will retain moisture better. Raised beds tend to dry out and drain quicker than beds or borders directly in the ground. 
    However-  having said that, it also depends on what you want to grow. 

    I wouldn't layer the materials either - just mix them all, to get a nice free draining mix.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Not sure why you have included grit in a raised bed for veg ?  The makeup does depend on what you plan to grow tho.
    If you have a decent base, which it sounds like you have, you just build on it for the following year.  Once you have harvested this year, then you gradually add stuff to make it viable for the following year.  You certainly wouldn't empty the bed - well rotted manure ( horse/sheep or WHY ), raw kitchen waste, torn up cardboard and paper, grass cuttings - a sprinkling of BFB and you should be good to go again next year.
    Building and renewing is really the key when you are dealing with a restricted area.
    Again, it does depend on what you intend to grow - some veg will take more out of the soil than others - some will prefer a more well drained area - most salads will take little to get going than deeper rooted veg.
    Decide what you want to grow and go on from there :)  
    Hello,
    Thanks for your advice, that's great and makes sense to just add to it and not start from scratch. I only added a layer of grit to the bottom as I don't have any soil or grass in my garden at all (it's more of a large stone yard) so a lot of the google results suggested adding a layer of grit for drainage as it's sat on a stone floor. I will learn from my mistake if this is the wrong way to do it! :) Thank you again for your help
  • Do you have access to good old garden soil @frankie.ogden ?  The growing season is by no means over depending on what you are expecting to plant. I am still sowing lettuces, peas, dwarf beans and beetroot to name just a few.

    I have been 'getting it wrong' for years now!  There's nothing like a failure to spark off the next experiment and experience is worth as much as instruction so keep going  :)
    @herbaceous I don't unfortunately! I literally have no soil at all as my garden is a stone yard! I know! I've already had a few failures with some flowers so far but it's a learning curve and I'm enjoying myself so I'll get there eventually! :)
  • Fairygirl said:
    The growing season has barely started here, so don't worry  :)
    Garden soil is fine to use, so if you have any - use that to bulk up your bed. Most veg will be perfectly happy if there's more compost than soil - it's really just a guide. The reason for having more soil is because it will retain moisture better. Raised beds tend to dry out and drain quicker than beds or borders directly in the ground. 
    However-  having said that, it also depends on what you want to grow. 

    I wouldn't layer the materials either - just mix them all, to get a nice free draining mix.  :)
    @fairygirl Thank you for your advice that makes sense. I will keep all of this in mind for next year! :) 
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