How To Fill Raised Garden Beds and Containers
February 26, 2022

How To Fill Raised Garden Beds and Containers

Not sure what soil mix is best for your raised garden bed or container gardening? Well, you are in luck! Today we want to share our six favorite ingredients for filling a raised garden bed or container. Don’t worry, there is some flexibility among the ingredients depending on what is available around your home and what your budget is for your gardening project. 

Rather than using complicated measurements for each product they are broken down into parts. So no matter what size garden bed or container, wether you are using buckets or truckloads, you can get the correct proportions for your specific need. Every product mentioned is easy to find at Home Depot or your local garden supply store, but you can also buy them online in bulk if in need of large, truckload, quantities. 

Topsoil and Sand

Start with 1 part topsoil and 1 part coarse sand. There are many topsoil products available at your local gardening store, but in most cases we save time and money by using soil from the work site. One of the reasons many people use a raised gardening bed or container is to avoid their troublesome native soil. However, combined together with these other ingredients, in these ratios, even your poor native soil can be used to create a high quality soil mix. If you choose the route of buying potting soil we recommend Black Gold potting mix. You can also save money and extend the product by incorporating 20% to 40% of your native soil with the potting mix.

Organic Material

The next step is to add organic material. Add in 1 part peat moss and 1 part organic matter. Typically for the organic matter we like to use a pine bark or forest humus. A widely available organic matter that we like to use is Amend, which has both bark and forest humus related products in it.  

John & Bob’s Maximize and Nourish-Biosol

Now we want to infuse the soil with life and attracts for life to make it nutrient-rich for your growing plants. Add 1 part Maximize which contains minerals, mycorrhizae, and live microbes, aiding in plant nutrition, disease suppression, and stimulation of root growth. Next, add 1/3 part Nourish-Biosol which is John & Bob’s organic fertilizer made from the bloom of cultured soybean meal and cottonseed meal. Topsoil, coarse sand, peat moss, organic matter, Maximize, and Nourish-Biosol will create an ideal soil mix for any gardening bed, pot, or container! 

Need Something Lighter?

If you are creating soil mix for a hanging pot or container that needs to be as light weight as possible, you can substitute 1 part vermiculite in place of the topsoil or sand. Want it even lighter? Substitute 1 part vermiculite for the topsoil and 1 part perlite for the sand. Vermiculite and perlite are incredibly light weight materials that will completely change the weight of your soil mix while still retaining moisture.

Those ‘little white specks’ you see in commercial potting soils are typically perlite. 

Do I need to change my container and raised garden bed soil every year?

Most gardening experts and nurseries will tell you that you need to change your soil every year because your plants will use up all the nutrients in the soil. This is incorrect. While it is important to revitalize your soil for raised beds and container gardening, you can keep your existing soil year after year and simply revitalize it using our John & Bob’s products twice a year! All you need to do is apply Optimize, Maximize, and Nourish-Biosol over the top of your existing soil and water it in. This simple addition will keep your soil lively and nutrient-rich so you don’t have to change it. Re-using potting soil is the future of container gardening and raised gardening beds, made available to you through our revolutionary smart soil products. Even better, you can get these products delivered right to your front door!