Filling a new raised bed.


I have just built a new raised bed measuring 100cm x 100cm x 31cm

That works out at a soil volume of approx 310 litres.

Now, I have to fill it.  My wife plans to grow a wide selection of veg, salad and flowers. All just for experimenst and for fun. 

I have have been advised to fill it with (bagged) top soil and (bagged) organic farmyard manure at an approx 50/50 mix.  Both from Westland I believe.

Bearing in mind that this is the first time we have used a raised bed, have only one or two garden centres within reach and niether of them are terribly specialised .... is the suggested mix okay or is there a better way of doing it?

Any advise welcome.

Many thanks image



  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,820

    In mine it was about third top soil, third manure and third multi purpose compost. You can get the stuff from DIY stores as well.

    I put it in in layers to leave the worms mix it but I am sure others will say give it a stir - I do not say dig.

    Also have ready some Growmore or other feed to boost the soil before you plant. I sprinkle growmore on, but it is not oragnic and then feed the crops after a couple months with some sort of liquid feed.


  • I was wondering about including some cheap multi purpose compost but was concerned about water retention.  I like the sound of the mis though image

  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,820
    Rosa carriola wrote (see)

     Before picture - veg garden


     Today after I have prepared beds for this year. Where th wheelbarrow is will be another raised bed, probably order it within the week

    As you can see piles of rubbish everywhere - work in progress!

    the middle bed has my garlic growing happily in it - just not shown up

    By the greenhouse I am going to dig out grass fro a cold frame and nursery area. That will help fill new raised bed.

    Here are my rised beds. been in action for 2 years now

  • Both of my beds would just about fit inside one of yours I expect but they are a little higher.  Deciding how to fill them has caused me to hop from place to place ..... picking up loads of different adevice as I went image

    Your advice sounds like a fair average though the use of any general purpose compost (peat?) bothers me in case it dries out and hardens.  Sounds okay though.

    Thanks for the garden pick ... here is one of mine when I moved into this property 10 months ago.  The garden was not a selling point image



  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,820


    You should have seen mine - Fork handles pg 1203 -and that was after work started.

    the only way I could grow veg was using raised beds as not only have I endless tree roots to overcome but am also on clay.

    Still last summer despite weather we rarely had to buy veg. This year I am using grids as I think you can produce more than in rows as can grow things closer together. My beds are 4ft x 8ft.x 1ft the new one will just be for squash/courgette

    I found with all the rain last year that my beds remained workable and productive - a definate benefit as they didn't flood, unlike a lot of the garden!

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,695

    I've filled mine with approx half and half topsoil and well-rotted farmyard manure - it's been fine and has had good water retention and cropped well.

    Good luck image

    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • BrummieBenBrummieBen Posts: 459

    Yeah Bjay (rosa) has the mix about right, be aware no manure for roots though! Instead of growmore, I'm trying out rock dust, (volcanic rock pulvarised) I was having trouble finding it, but then SEER from scotland who produce it actually say B&Q stock it in 10kg bags, under their Verve range. Cheaper than buying a 20kg bag too, so that's the way I went.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,695

    1/3 peatmoss??? image  totally unethical ecologically speaking 

    "1/3 5 different type of compost" image means nothing


    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619

    Do you make your own compost and/or leafmould? Adding as much bulky organic matter as you can will be very worthwhile. You might also consider contacting your local council for composted green waste, which is often cheaper than commercial multi pupose compost. 

  • Alan4711Alan4711 Posts: 1,569

    Dove sounds about right,in a brand new allotment we deturfed,built raised beds from scaffold boards £4 each ,,one each side one cut in half for the ends then filled with top soil then covered with local farmyard manure ,full tractor load £20 filled 7 of these beds and left it to the worms,without a shadow of a doubt the raised beds are the way to go almost no work at all to maintain them once done and 5 monthes later the soil is all mixed and ready to go thanks to the critters in the soil,and all the beds are already well drained after all that rain all this advise was from this site and our neighbor allotmenteers and its worked a treat and very cheap to do

    good luck Alan

  • yarrow2yarrow2 Posts: 701

    Can I ask a really dumb question?   My small lawn area floods every winter and I end up re-sowing it every Spring.  It always comes up well and looks great by the summer - but I'm tired of dealing with it in this way.  I've decided to cut the workload and just put a couple of raised beds on top of the lawn. 

    My conundrum is - should I did up the grass before I put raised beds on top of it - or can I just put down raised bed frames right on top of the existing dampish lawn - which has very little grass as it doesn't come up after winter i.e. huge patches of compacted soil and little grass?  Or, do I need to dig up the area where I'd put down the frames and do something with the soil which would be the bottom of the frames?

    Thanks for any advice.

  • yarrow2yarrow2 Posts: 701

    I forgot the whole point of keeping within the subject of this topic - it's been suggested to me that with topsoil that I ought to consider adding Reshredded Mushroom Compost in the mix to fill the raised beds.   Any of you with raised beds experience ever added this stuff in them?  Or is that a bit much for raised beds which will be basic veg and a lot of probably flower  perennials and annuals?

  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,820

    I used ti as I could get it cheap, but i did use top soil and MP as well, just part of a good mix. Not by itself I wouldn't have thought

  • BrummieBenBrummieBen Posts: 459

    I'm currently sticking raised beds ontop of an old lawn, which has couch in it, I have bought some good quality weed matting, and what I plan to do is lay it inside my raised bed before I add the filler. We'll see how I go I guess..

  • I set mine up today, I placed it directly on the grass, I lined the bottom with corrugated cardboard which was scavenged from the kitchen fitters next door. have put down a layer of topsoil about 2inches deep and on top of that some well rotted manure, also scavenged from some allotments that are now all being cleared for developers, they left behind a huge pile of manure so I asked the contractor if i could have some, he told me I could have it all. I will now top it off with 4 bags of compost and more topsoil and leave it for the worms to work on.

  • Hi All

    I have 3 raised beds all at varying heights, I have been told to either line the bottom with the black cover you put down under stones and not to make drainage holes? Or place shingle at the bottom for drainage......both contradict each other so don't know what to do for the best?

    I have the mix of topsoil, manure and multi compost, so that not the issue.

  • Hi Hayley - the landscape fabric is porous so will allow water to drain through. There's divided opinion about placing a layer of gravel on the bottom of pots or raised beds - best to use some grit or fine gravel mixed through for drainage, especially if you have them on solid ground (like paving) which will not let excess water away so well.  It's not usually necessary  as raised beds tend to drain well - most people have the opposite problem of them drying out too quickly. image

  • image

     Thanks, looking forward to getting them filled now and start my growing!

    I read somewhere that roots don't like manure, is that right does anyone know?

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,695

    Well rotted manure which has been incorporated into the soil in the previous year is fine for root veg, but fresh manure will cause root veg such as carots and parsnips to fork.

    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • My raised bed is on top of thick clay soil, so I put a 2-3cm layer of clay pebbles down first to help the water drain away. Then I filled it up half way with compost mixed with a few tiny twigs and pebbles, roughly 20% - just as an extra drainage caution. Then pure compost for the rest. 

    I had no idea if this was right at the time. But this year my spuds in the bed produced True potato seeds, they look like tomatoes. I read they only do this in 'perfect conditions' I was doing cartwheels in my head when I read that. Years ago I'd have done an actual cartwheel image

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