Sunday, June 14, 2009

Good Soil, Bad Soil

When I built my first raised bed, I had no idea where to get the soil for it. I had done a bit of reading, but I was clueless about how much soil a 12x4 foot bed could hold. So I drove down to Home Depot, and two trips later I had 24 bag of topsoil and 24 bags of compost. 

When I put the rest of the beds together, I worked out that I had around 108 cubic feet, or about 4 cubic yards of volume to fill with soil. Since the first bed I had found out that people would actually deliver soil. Plus, the soil is a LOT cheaper by the cubic yard. When the huge pile got dumped on the drive way, I was ecstatic. 
Fast forward a month, and I wasn't so ecstatic about the soil. Here's two photos to explain why:

Young Squash

Young Squash

These are pictures of two different squash plants that I planted from seed the same day. The top one is the first bed I built, full of Home Depot topsoil and compost. The bottom photo is one of the beds filled with supposedly 50-50 amended topsoil. Except all the vegetables in that new soil are small and sickly. The veggies in the old soil are huge. 

This weekend I amended one of the beds with compost, and spread a layer of compost in the other beds where I didn't want to rip out had had grown to this point. I'll post a photo of the runt from above later if it all works out.


  1. Also you can play Mozart and the plants will grow better/faster :-) they do NOT like country or rock music. Per my science experiment in 7th grade. Certifiable.

  2. OH been meaning to mention it. In my walks thru my hood I've seen quite a few lovely gardens with raised beds! Very small raised beds with sitting platforms on both sides, growing potable stuff like herbs....might be a nice sort of niche market thing for homeowners without much room and want just the setup i.e for herbs etc. I'll try and take pictures sometime (I usually walk at night so...)...but both houses have replaced their little lawn area with gravel and then a little path and then maybe four or five of these small raised beds. They're taking off!!