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Topsoil for raised beds

I need to buy a bulk delivery of peat free topsoil for 2 x long thin planters (2.4m x 500mm x 500mm) I will be planting something low maintenance architectural.

I have trawled through the usual suspects for bulk soil but wanted some advice because I don't really understand the exact mix to buy and any questions I need to ask a supplier. 
Any advice or details of successful buys would be much appreciated.

Posts

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,304
    Hi Steve and welcome to the forum
    You're looking at about 600 litres to fill your planters.
    Topsoil doesn't generally contain peat.
    I had some raised beds put in for veg and soft fruit 4 years ago.
    I had a mix of topsoil and rotted manure from CPA Horticulture.
    It has worked well, but in hindsight I'd have used more manure and added some grit to the mix.
    I used 25 ton topsoil and 5 ton manure - so about 80% topsoil and 20% manure.
    If I was going to do it again, I'd use about 60% topsoil 25% manure and 15% horticultural grit to give a more open texture.
    I used the British Sugar topsoil from CPA which is very good, but contains no stones or grit whatsoever. It's the silt recovered when washing sugar beets and is like fine, soft brown flour

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Thanks Pete,
    I will check out CPA. These planters are going on a patio with low maintenance evergreens in - would it still be best to have the mix you mention?
    I like the sound of 'soft brown flour'
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,304
    Yes, that mix would be suitable for most plants.
    The topsoil alone compacts easily as it's so fine, and being recovered silt, it contains no 'life'.
    The grit and manure will help to open it up a bit and add plenty of beneficial organisms.

    This was the 1st load of 20 ton. You can see how fine the texture is
    Almost enough to bury my neighbours :)



    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Wow thats alot of soil. Looks good. I checked out CPA and am going to order one of their mixes. Thank you for the advice.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,304
    Good luck Steve :)

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Cheers   :)
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