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Soil Essentials You Could Be Adding For A Healthy Raised Garden Bed
The foundation of a raised garden bed is the soil you fill it with, and the right blend of topsoil, compost, and nutrients will determine whether your plants flourish or fail.
Raised beds don’t benefit from the natural earth layers and soil-enriching organisms that in-ground beds do, so you need to introduce into the soil whatever your
plants will need.
Start by layering the bottom third of the garden bed with dry twigs and leaves to elevate the soil, then add topsoil onto that, filling the bed two-thirds full with the topsoil.
Topsoil provides structure and aeration, and holds nutrients and microorganisms. It must be dark and crumbly, and smell earthy — avoid sticky, foul-smelling, sandy, or clayey soil.
The University of Maryland says compost should make up 5%-10% of your soil, so add store-bought compost or your own made from leaves, kitchen waste, and grass clippings.
Compost is decayed organic matter that aids plant growth by adding essential nutrients and beneficial microorganisms, improving soil structure, and boosting water retention.
Enrich your soil further with nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur to foster healthy foliage, roots, flowering, and disease resistance.
The University of California advises amending your soil with 1 to 3 inches of worm castings for a massive nutritional boost, or you can add blood meal, bone meal, or fish emulsion.