What is the best type of soil to use in my raised bed gardens?
I am starting some raised beds this year. What is the best type of soil to use? I use Coast of Maine for starting my plants.
Caragh Fitzgerald, Associate Extension Professor, Agriculture
When you’re filling a raised bed, the primary material should be mineral soil, rather than a potting soil. Mineral soil is usually sold as “topsoil” or “loam.” There are no standard guidelines for what these materials are, so it’s worth looking at the material first and asking questions of the seller. Ideally, you’ll be looking for a soil with moderate drainage. You can get a sense of this by checking the soil texture by feel.
Some loam is sold pre-mixed with organic material, such as compost. You may want to ask the seller about the origin of the compost, too.
No matter what, you’ll want to take a soil test of the material to see if pH or nutrient levels need to be adjusted. Information about doing that and about additional factors to consider when purchasing soil are listed in UMaine Extension Bulletin #2283, Tips for Purchasing Soil for Gardens and Landscape Projects.