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  1. #1
    t4tom is offline Germinator
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    Default Filling Raised Beds

    Hi All,

    I am a bit of a newbie, having only gown sunflowers, herbs and chilli with any success.

    I've recently decided to try my hand at square foot gardening and have invested in a two small raised beds (1m x 1m x 30 cm).

    My question concerns filling these raised beds as I do not have access to a quality topsoil or homemade compost; I estimate that I will need around 300 litres of soil, but I'm not sure what I should be buying?

    John Innes No 3? Dandy's Top Soil?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Thomas

  2. #2
    Pumpkin Becki's Avatar
    Pumpkin Becki is offline Early Fruiter
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    Default

    I'd go for a mixture of Peat-free Multi Purpose Compost, topsoil and manure (you can buy this bagged if you don't have a ready supply). You could also add Soil Improver, but my mistake (when I filled my raised beds) was missing out the topsoil element. I ended up with very light, fluffy soil that compacted quite quickly and formed a bit of a crust on the surface.

  3. #3
    t4tom is offline Germinator
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    Default

    Thanks for the response Becki.

    As I will need to purchase all three of those ingredients: compost, topsoil and manure, are you able to give some indication of the ratios required?

    I wondered if John Innes No 3 might still be appropriate as this is loam based?

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Paulottie is offline Banned
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    Default

    I think John Innes is a good choice as it is premixed combination of the above anyhow. However I might use a multi purpose/ blended manure to bulk it out and give some extra organic matter.

  5. #5
    Bigmallly's Avatar
    Bigmallly is offline Think outside the box
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    Hi t4tom, I think there is a bit about sq ft compost on this thread........

    http://www.growfruitandveg.co.uk/gra...ing_44388.html
    “Gorillas are very intelligent, but they don't have to be as delicate as chimps -- they can just smash open the termite nest,”
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Official Member Of The Nutters Club - Rwanda Branch.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sent from my ZX Spectrum with no predictive text..........
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    KOYS - King Of Yellow Stickers..............

  6. #6
    Pumpkin Becki's Avatar
    Pumpkin Becki is offline Early Fruiter
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    Default

    I avoid John Innes because it contains peat, but that's a personal thing.

    I would go 2 parts compost to 1 part topsoil and then add manure depending on what you are using the bed for (I guess thats trickier with Sq Ft gardening), basically if your making a seed bed or growing root veg this season, I wouldn't add any, but if your going for hungrier crops, add another 1 part, possibly more for things like pumpkins, squashes, runner beans.

    You may need to play around a little, but I think you'll 'feel' when the mix is right.

  7. #7
    t4tom is offline Germinator
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    Default

    Thanks to all who have responded.

    It sounds like John Innes No 3 might be suitable out of the bag, but I'll have a look locally to see if I can purchase some topsoil and manure to balance things up a little.

    Also, thanks to Bigmally's thread I have ordered a copy of 'All New Square Foot Gardening' by Mel Bartholomew.

    I can't wait to get started now!

  8. #8
    Bigmallly's Avatar
    Bigmallly is offline Think outside the box
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    Have a sneak preview before it arrives.

    Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to ... - Google Books
    “Gorillas are very intelligent, but they don't have to be as delicate as chimps -- they can just smash open the termite nest,”
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Official Member Of The Nutters Club - Rwanda Branch.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sent from my ZX Spectrum with no predictive text..........
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    KOYS - King Of Yellow Stickers..............

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