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For the best conditions in a raised bed, it is important, among other things, that the raised bed soil has an optimal composition. You can find out what this looks like and which peat-free products are available below.

soil in the raised bed

Soil is usually only used as the top layer just above the compost layer in a raised bed. Because the different layers and rotting build up a high nutrient content, special demands are placed on the optimal soil. Soil that is specially composed for raised beds is also called raised bed soil.

In principle, the composition is about creating an ideal balance between the availability of nutrients from the lower layers with the top layer of soil.

mother/garden soil

Normal mother or garden soil is sufficient for filling raised beds if it is enriched with certain organic substances. The composition then looks like this:

  • Top soil/garden soil, from which the raised bed can be filled with a layer of soil between 15 and 20 centimetres
  • 3 parts humus soil
  • 1 part charcoal/firewood ash as fertilizer
    • calcium
    • phosphorus
    • lime
    • iron
    • potassium
  • For heavy consumers, mix in some compost or compost soil

Notice: However, this composition is only suitable for lime-tolerant plants.

Universal finished products

You can buy special raised bed soil in specialist garden shops, but also occasionally in supermarkets. It is usually a universal version, which ideally consists of at least the following substances:

  • nitrogen
  • phosphate
  • potassium oxide

Notice: The higher the nitrogen content, the more difficult it is for flowers to form/develop, since nitrogen primarily stimulates the growth of green plant parts and, as a result, there may not be enough energy for flowers.

Conventional potting soil

In order for conventional potting soil to become the ideal universal raised bed soil, however, further components should be added and a certain production method should be taken into account:

  • 8 parts potting soil, peat-free
  • 1 part expanded clay or lava split (also available in specialist shops as winter litter)
  • 1 part horn meal
  • As an alternative to horn meal or as a mix: Terra Preta
  • Mix all ingredients well together
  • Water vigorously and fill into the raised bed
  • Let the soil “set” for a few days and top up again if necessary
  • Only then do planting
expanded clay

Tip: No matter what soil you choose, it should always be of high quality, as poor quality soil tends to clump, compact and mold easily.

organic soil

However, an ideal choice is organic soils that are specially developed/compounded for raised bed planting. Which ingredients are present in detail depends on the respective manufacturer, whereby in some cases the requirements of certain plant species are also taken into account.

As an organic product, they are mostly peat-free and thus support ecological gardening. High-quality products are enriched with natural raw materials that improve root growth, optimize nutrient uptake and make plants all the more resilient. In most cases, the following components are included as a basis in combination or individually:

  • Biological soil additives
  • microorganisms
  • Wood fibers from green waste

Pure soil filling

Especially when there is less space, as is often the case on balconies, only small raised beds are usually used. Here, however, it is almost impossible to create several layers. In this case, you can also fill the container exclusively with soil, provided that this offers a good alternative to the other layer functions. It can only do this if it has the right composition, which looks like this:

  • Balcony or plant soil for green and flowering plants
  • Herb soil for herb cultivation
  • Mix in the compost in a ratio of 1:2
  • 20 grams of perlite per liter of soil
  • 10 grams of rock flour per liter of soil

Peat-free products

If you don't want to go to the trouble of making your own with simple garden, flower or plant soil, you can instead buy ready-to-use products without peat as raised bed soil in stores. The selection is so extensive. Some examples:

  • COMPO BIO raised bed and greenhouse soil peat-free
  • Gardol Pure Nature organic raised bed soil
  • SERAMIS vegetable and raised bed organic soil
  • Pro Natur raised bed soil from Ziegler
  • Dehner organic raised bed potting soil
  • OBI organic garden and raised bed soil
  • Natural talent organic raised bed soil from TOOM

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