Top 10 Best Soil for Raised Garden Beds | 2021 Reviews

Raised garden beds are not very typical to beginners, yet some consider them in their gardening journey. You’d notice that most beginners prefer to make plant beds in-ground because it’s less hassling, yet with raised garden beds, there are many reasons why it’s beneficial. As you make these, you’ll need exceptional soil, which is not the soil from your backyard’s ground. You’ll have to create yours, and if you’re looking for the best soil for raised garden beds, you should check out these options:

 

Top 10 Best Soil for Raised Garden Beds Reviewed

  1. Compressed Organic Potting by Organic Plant Magic – Best Overall
  2. Organic Premium Potting Mix by Burpee Store – Best Value
  3. 803 All Purpose Compost by Dr. Earth – Editor’s Choice
  4. 1460 Baccto Lite Premium Potting Soil by Michigan Peat
  5. Organic Vegetable and Flower Soil by Espoma 
  6. Ocean Forest Potting Soil by FoxFarm 
  7. All Organic Potting Soil by Black Gold 
  8. No products found. 
  9. Expand 'n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix by Miracle-Gro
  10. No products found. 

#1. Compressed Organic Potting by Organic Plant Magic – Best Overall

Compressed Organic Potting

 

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Specifications:

  • Use as: Potting Mix
  • Ingredients: Coconut coir and worm castings
  • Amount: Up to 3 gallons of soil

In choosing the best soil for your raised garden beds, you should check out what Organic Plant Magic has to offer, like the Compressed Organic Potting. 

This soil can feed your plant for how many months. It may have a small size, yet it can extend for up to 3 gallons of soil. It doesn’t contain harmful ingredients that can compromise your plant’s health as it grows. Also, you can guarantee that it’s safe for pets and children.

You’ll find this soil very convenient because it requires less watering compared to in-ground soil. Plus, it doesn’t take too much room inside your raised garden bed, providing ample space for your plants. 

Another exceptional advantage of this soil is its rapid hydration. It absorbs water well, and it holds 50% more, making it perfect for flower and vegetable garden beds. 

ProsCons
Hold more water than typical soilCan cause molds
Grows three times biggerPricey

#2. Organic Premium Potting Mix by Burpee Store – Best Value

Organic Premium Potting Mix

 

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Specifications:

  • Use as: Potting Mix
  • Ingredients: Coconut coir
  • Amount: Can last for three months

Another exceptional soil to add to your list is the Organic Premium Potting Mix because it’s best in maintaining moisture, thanks to its high water hold-capacity. You don’t have to water it frequently, yet your plants will continue to grow and develop the way you want these to be. 

It comes with fertilizers to enrich your herbs, vegetables, and fruits for better results. Aside from that, you can assure that your flowers will grow with full vibrancy, making your garden look more appealing.

Gardeners also recommend this soil because you can use it for indoor plants, too 

ProsCons
Excellent in maintaining moistureCan be infested by gnats
VersatileProne to flying pests

#3. 803 All Purpose Compost by Dr. Earth – Editor’s Choice

803 All Purpose Compost

 

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Specifications:

  • Use as: Compost
  • Ingredients: earthworm castings, alfalfa meal, and kelp meal
  • Amount: For 1.5 cubic feet

If you’re looking for an effective soil to use as compost, you can never go wrong with the 803 All Purpose Compost. 

This soil is excellent for beginners because it uses 100% natural ingredients, like kelp meal and alfalfa meal. Regardless if you’re planting vegetables, flowers, shrubs, or trees, you don’t have to worry about damages caused by harmful compounds. 

You can use it as is, or you can also mix it with other soils. 

ProsCons
Suitable for most plantsExcessive small pebbles
Hand-crafted blendExcessive peat

#4. 1460 Baccto Lite Premium Potting Soil by Michigan Peat

1460 Baccto Lite Premium Potting Soil

 

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Specifications:

  • Use as: Potting Mix
  • Ingredients: Pre-moistened sphagnum peat
  • Amount: 8 quarts

The 1460 Baccto Lite Premium Potting Soil by Michigan Peat is one of the recommended soils for beginners in gardening because of its versatility. It’s not only effective on outdoor plants but also indoor plants, including potted plants, bulbs, or container plants. 

The best thing about this soil is that it doesn’t need any preparation or mixing. It comes with light soil, which is why you may need a lot of packs if your raised garden bed is big. Also, it comes with fertilizers, which are both slow-release and starter. 

ProsCons
Comes with a slow-release fertilizerSome packs contain bugs
Ready to useToo small by packaging

#5. Organic Vegetable and Flower Soil by Espoma

Organic Vegetable and Flower Soil

 

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Specifications:

  • Use as: Topsoil
  • Ingredients: Sphagnum peat moss, earthworm castings, and peat humus
  • Amount: For one cubic foot

Espoma is one of the most famous brands when it comes to your gardening needs. If you can’t decide what soil to buy for your raised garden bed, you can check out the Organic Vegetable and Flower Soil by Espoma. 

You’ll love this soil as it comes with a blend of 11 strains of ecto and endo mycorrhizae, which is its trademark. Thanks to its organic materials, it will guarantee that your plants will grow in excellent condition, even when you’re not using in-ground soil.

Another edge of this soil is that it can grow healthily in shady places, too. If you’re struggling in getting full sunlight, this soil will help your plant grow beautiful blooms or delicious crops because of its Myco-tone ingredient.  

ProsCons
Best for perennial plantsPackaging needs improvement
Suitable in shady areasToo pricey for its size

#6. Ocean Forest Potting Soil by FoxFarm

Ocean Forest Potting Soil

 

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Specifications:

  • Use as: Potting Mix
  • Ingredients: Earthworm castings, sphagnum peat moss, fish emulsion, bat guano, and crab meal
  • Amount: For 1.5 cubic foot

FoxFarm doesn’t fail in meeting the expectations of gardeners when it comes to offering effective soil for raised garden beds. If you need one, you should buy the Ocean Forest Potting Soil. 

Many gardeners admire this fertilizer because it’s well-aerated and lightweight. It’s ideal for your cuttings and seedlings because it doesn’t use harmful ingredients. It’s the potting mix’s best choice because it comes with a pH level of 6.3 to 6.8, which will let your plants grow more vigorously. 

It also comes with many micronutrients, and it works well for plants in containers, too. 

ProsCons
Suitable for both perennials and annualsPoor packaging-quality
Comes with protective glovesCan grow fungus

#7. All Organic Potting Soil by Black Gold

All Organic Potting Soil

 

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Specifications:

  • Use as: Potting Mix
  • Ingredients: Earthworm castings, pumice, and perlite
  • Amount: 16 quarts

If you’re a newbie in gardening and prefer to use raised garden beds instead of in-ground ones, you need reliable soil for your plants, like the All Organic Potting Soil by Black Gold. 

This soil is one of the most effective garden mixes for any plants because of its rich and loamy type. Whether you’re planting herbs, flowers, or vegetables, its organic ingredients will assure your plant’s excellent health as it grows. 

Aside from that, the Organic Materials Review Institute or OMRI reviewed this product, letting it earn its label as an eco-friendly soil. 

ProsCons
Contains a loamy soilSome users found pests inside the packaging
OMRI-certifiedNot affordable

#8. No products found.

No products found.

 

No products found.

 

Specifications:

  • Use as: Topsoil
  • Ingredients: Coi, lava sand, granite sand, humate, basalt, and expanded shale
  • Amount: For 1.5 cubic feet

Soil Mender is also a reliable brand to consider if you want to buy exceptional soil for raised garden beds. The Raised Bed Mix is worth your money because you can use it on a 1.5-cubic foot garden bed. 

There’s no hassle in applying or mixing it. It comes with the right composure, texture, and mineral base to keep your plants growing healthily, regardless if you’re planting vegetables or flowers. Plus, the ingredients are very safe for your plants, from coir to composted cotton burrs. 

Aside from that, it’s also affordable. If you’re beginning to explore how to plant in raised garden beds, this soil is an excellent option. 

ProsCons
Uses organic ingredientsDoesn't contain slow-release fertilizers
Hassle-free to usePackaging needs improvement

#9. Expand 'n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix by Miracle-Gro

Expand 'n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix

 

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Specifications:

  • Use as: Potting Mix
  • Ingredients: Fertilizer and compressed coir
  • Amount: Can last for six months

When it comes to the best substitute for your garden, The Expand ‘n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix by Miracle-Gro is the what you should consider purchasing. 

You’d be surprised how your plants can grow three times bigger. Plus, it can hold up to 50% water, and it’s a plus for gardeners because they don’t have to water their plants frequently. Aside from that, you can maximize its use as it can last up to 6 months.

It’s a bestseller because it uses natural ingredients, making sure your plants will continue to grow in better conditions for more yield and vibrancy. 

ProsCons
Suitable for both containers and in-groundToo potent for other plants
Creates a 90% air space Some packs have molds

#10. No products found.

No products found.

 

No products found.

 

Specifications:

  • Use as: Potting Mix
  • Ingredients: Coconut coir (sifted compost and perlite)
  • Amount: Up to 17 gallons of soil

There are many soils available in the market for raised garden beds. If you’re struggling in deciding what to buy, you can never go wrong with the Compressed Coco Coir Block by Kempf. 

Many gardeners recommend this soil to beginners because it’s environmental-friendly, and you can use up to 17 gallons of soil from this 10-pound. It’s enough for your raised garden beds. Plus, it’s not very complicated to use. 

Aside from that, this soil promotes exceptional growth to your plants, thanks to its water retention and aeration. Also, it can repel unwanted pests and insects, which makes it very competitive. 

ProsCons
Can repel insects and pestsInconsistent quality
Eco-friendlyVery salty

Top Pick – Best Soil for Raised Garden Beds

Out of many options available for raised garden beds, the top pick is the Compressed Organic Potting by Organic Plant Magic. You can count on this soil if you’re new to gardening because it’s not a hassle at all. 

It’s also very effective despite its small size, and it only needs less watering. This convenience provides more time for gardeners to do other tasks. Plus, you can guarantee that it’s not harmful at all to pets or children. 

Aside from that, its rapid hydration is one of the main reasons why many gardeners prefer this soil to other brands. It absorbs waters and holds 50% for your vegetables, letting these grow deliciously.

If you want better results for your plants your raised garden beds, you should purchase this soil. 


Buying the Best Soil for Raised Garden Beds – Buyers Guide

Looking for the best soil is not easy, especially when you have to create it for your raised garden beds. Here’s a quick guide that you can consider if you’re new to these. 

Consider the Weather

It’s advisable to consider your area’s weather. If you’re living in a place where it’s too dry, adding more soil is crucial to retain its moisture. If your place receives an excellent amount of rain, your raised garden bed should have a drainage system.

Type of Soil

There are different types of soil available in the market. If you are to fill your raised garden beds, here are the soil-types you’ll find in the market: 

Loam Soils

This type has an excellent balance of sand, clay, and silt. This type is suitable for plants that need higher calcium and level and pH levels. Plus, the gritty texture is excellent in retaining nutrients and water. 

Sandy Soils

This type comes with sand, being the biggest particle in soil, yet it doesn’t hold enough nutrients. Most plants will not thrive in this type, yet some plants can survive, like Wormwood, Butterfly weed, Blanket Flower, and Adam’s Needle. 

Clay Soils

This type has a big amount of clay, and it doesn’t drain well. On the other hand, some plants are suitable for this soil, like the Goldenrod, Bee Balm, and Black-eyed Susan. 

Silt Soils

This type comes with high fertility and powdery. However, these can be waterlogged easily. Japanese iris, Yellow Iris, and Swamp Milkweed are the plants that can adapt to this soil type. 

Best Soil for Vegetables

The best soil will depend on the type of garden, instead of plants. For raised bed gardens, the best mixture is 50% topsoil and 50% compost. You can also use clay soil, yet it’s best to amend it using vermiculite, expanded shale, or gypsum. 

Best Soil for Flowers

It depends on what type of flower you wish to grow. If you prefer growing flower bulbs, these need sandy loam soil. Due to its excellent drainage, it will avert the bulb from rotting. Plus, the best mixture is composed of a 1:1:1 ratio of topsoil, compost, and peat. 

What Your Raised Garden Bed Should Have

As you fill your raised garden bed with soil, you’ll need to buy it in bulk. You can use a Soil Calculator to know how much you need by the cubic yard or cubic foot. The best proportion that you can consider is:

  • 60% topsoil
  • 30% compost
  • 10% potting soil (a mixture of perlite, peat moss, and vermiculite)

If you can’t find topsoil, the best substitute is a 50-50 blend of potting soil and compost. 

If you want to include peat moss in your mixture, it should not be over 20% because it’s not ideal for growing vegetables since it’s naturally acidic. 

How Much Soil Should You Use for Raised Garden Beds

When it comes to raised garden beds, the most important factor is the soil. It’s always advisable to use a balanced one because it only gets wasted when there’s too much. When there’s not enough soil, it doesn’t help the plants to grow well. Here’s a guide on how to know whether you’re using enough soil for your raised garden beds or not. 

Root Depth of Plants

Roots are also important factors in determining how much soil is necessary. Ensure that your plants have sufficient space underneath so the roots can spread out and absorb their food. Plus, the depth of your plant’s roots depends on what type of plant it is. 

If you’re planting vegetables, such as lettuce, these have short roots. Since the roots don’t need to go down, you don’t need too much soil. 

If you’re planting other plants, like tomatoes, these need a bigger space underneath, which leads you to buy more soil for proper growth. 

Height of the Raised Garden Bed

The typical height that most gardeners choose is around 11 inches. It’s the ideal height because your bed will have ample room for proper drainage. With this height, you’ll need a foot of soil, and the amount needed increases, depending on your bed’s size by square feet. 

You can make your raised garden bed shorter or bigger, depending on your preference, too. If you want to do it this way, adjust the soil amount as per your height-preference. 

Tips on How to Prepare Your Soil for Planting Vegetables

Most gardeners use raised garden beds to plant vegetables because it’s an effective way to keep the plants from pests. If you’re new to planting vegetables, here are some tips on preparing your planting soil.

Prepare your planting soil

When it comes to raised garden beds, you need soil that’s separated from in-ground soil. However, despite the separation, your soil may still absorb what your native soil underneath provides. Even though you’re using quality soil in your raised garden beds, it can affect your plant’s development if the soil underneath is not healthy. 

Dig about two feet deep and turn over the native soil so you can see what’s underneath. Check if it’s too dry or if there are still other roots planted. 

After removing rocks or roots, you can also put fertilizers into your native soil. 

Enhance the native soil

After fixing your native soil under your raised garden beds, it’s time to enhance your soil before fixing your raised garden bed. If the in-ground soil is difficult or heavy to move, you can add peat moss. Another thing to check is the pH level because you also need to adjust it to the range, depending on your plant’s needs.

Apply your starter soil

When the in-ground soil is done, you can start with your soil in your garden bed. Fill up your raised garden bed with your starter soil, and save a few inches on top. 

Before you begin planting, you can prepare your fertilizer. Make sure you apply it a few days before the planting, so it doesn’t go deeper into your raised garden bed’s soil. 

Hacks on How to Improve Your Soil for Raised Garden Beds

Planting on raised garden beds requires a lot of effort, which is why you’ll need dedication and hard work. On the other hand, it’s always best to improve your soil to make sure all your efforts are worth it. Here are some ways on how you can enhance your soil. 

Know what the best soil is for your plant

Since you are to create soil for your raised garden bed, it’s best to understand its composes. If you know your soil very well, you know how to adjust your plants’ required pH level and minerals. 

Your soil’s pH level and density are important factors to consider because these will help your plants grow healthily and produce more crops. If you can determine what’s missing, you can adjust accordingly. 

Use organic fertilizers as much as possible

There are many fertilizers available in the market, and it’s always best to use organic fertilizers. These have natural ingredients with the necessary nutrients that your plant needs. With organic fertilizers, you can assure that there are no damages at all.

Chemical fertilizers will not help your soil and plants in your raised garden bed. 

Know everything about your previous soil

It’s one of the significant tips for newbies in gardening because not all the time, you can buy soil that is ready to use. However, not all the time, these are available. If you know what your previous soil has, you’ll be able to learn how you can adjust. 

If you are to buy one, it’s best to ask the seller where it came from. Some will only sell you dirt, and it’s not what you need when it comes to planting. If your seller can provide you information about the soil you’re buying, you know what nutrients are necessary to improve it. From there, you can adjust without any hassle. 

Compositing is also a good way

If you’re a beginner in gardening, you should know what composting is. It’s how gardeners turn dirt into healthy soil. All you need to do is to collect biodegradable leftovers and make these into live fertilizers. 

You don’t have to worry because these don’t smell bad. These are not too difficult to manage, too, as long as you do it correctly. 

Refresh your soil

In the first years of your soil, your plants will do well in your raised garden bed. One reason is that these have plenty of nutrients. However, as plants grow, your soil will run empty. Revitalizing your soil is crucial, and you can use some added soil inputs, like compost, fertilizer spikes, or leaf mold. Plus, you can also apply fertilizers to keep your soil healthy for better results. 

Soil Testing: Why Beginners Should Do It

Many gardeners test their soil from time to time, and it’s not only for beginners. It’s important to know the exact nutrients that your soil has, especially the pH level. Since plants grow under different soil conditions, determining the nutrients in your soil will help you find the best fertilizer you need for adjustments. 

Soil testing will give you the necessary information, and you’ll find a lot of testing kits available in the market. These kits will tell you whether your soil’s pH level is low or high. Aside from that, it also tells the nutrient contents. 

Soil testing can minimize your fertilizer expenses because it will let you know what nutrients your soil needs. If you can determine its exact deficiency, there are no wastages. You don’t have to spend a lot of money buying a lot of fertilizers. 

Soil testing can also prevent you from over-fertilization. Anything excessive, especially fertilizers, can affect your plant’s growth. Through soil testing, you prevent further damages from over-fertilizing. 

Some Advantages of Using Raised Garden Beds in Planting

Some gardeners have a hard time deciding whether to consider raised garden beds or in-ground beds because in-ground beds are financially economical, and these have less start-up work. On the other hand, there are many benefits of using raised garden beds, such as the following: 

Better drainage

If you’re using raised garden beds, it will let your soil drain better than in-ground beds. Poor drainage will prevent your plants from growing healthily. 

Manageability

With raised garden beds, you can manage your gardening tasks effectively because these have smaller spaces. 

Prevention from damages

Another benefit is that it can protect your plants from damages, like foot traffic. No one can step on your plants, unlike those planted in in-ground beds. 

Less maintenance on weeds

Raised garden beds also require less maintenance because there’s a decrease in weed populations. Tilling is minimal because plants are far from in-ground soil. 

Material conservation

Since your gardening space is smaller, you can control the water and fertilizer you use. You can conserve these materials, which is favorable if you’re also working on a tight budget. 


Conclusion

Planting in a raised garden bed is the new thing these days. A lot of gardeners are considering it than in-ground beds because it has many advantages. However, if you’re new to gardening, you’ll need to allot efforts to make it work, from building your raised garden beds’ frames to creating your soil. 

When it comes to finding the best soil, you can undoubtedly count on Compressed Organic Potting by Organic Plant Magic because it safe, not only for your plants but also for your pet or children. You’ll admire this soil because of its rapid hydration because it absorbs water and retains 50% more, which is beneficial for your plants. Plus, the amount grows three times bigger, providing you ample soil to put in your raised garden bed. 


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

When should I set up my raised garden bed?

You can set it up anytime, but gardeners recommend setting it up early spring since it’s the best time to plant your flowers, fruits, or vegetables. 

How will I know if my soil is bad?

You should check the crumble. If it’s crumbly, it’s good soil for planting. If it’s cracked and dry, it will not absorb water well, which can affect your plant’s development. If you encounter dry and cracked soil, you should start fixing it. 

How do I know if my soil lacks nitrogen and phosphorus?

If your plants look purple, it has a low phosphorous. If your plant’s leaves are starting to fall off or there’s discoloration, your soil lacks nitrogen.

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