raised-bed Post your successful potting/raised bed mix recipe

Thanks everyone, so after much research and suggestions, i decided to bite the bullet and buy some PROMIX BX. I need 4 bales to pot up all my plants. Since each bale expands to 7cf, here is the ratios per bale:
  • 3.8cf compressed promix bx (expands to 7cf) - 54% of the whole mix
  • 1.5 cf bag of mushroom compost - 11.5% of the whole mix
  • 1.5 cf bag of black kow compost - 11.5% of the whole mix
  • 3 cf of vermiculite - 23% of the whole mix
  • espoma tomato-tone recommended amount per pot
Vermiculite will make the mix nice and airy, and allow for drainage since BX is pretty dense with peat and adding compost will not help.

I might also get some worm castings in there, depends on how much they go for.

Wish me luck!
 
ok so I potted up the 60 plants or so into 1 gallon containers and I did it with this mix, it came out really well.. there could be a few slight changes but I will add them after I list what the mix I used is

(edit)- here is some numbers I found to help me figure out how much I needed. since trade sized pots are different than actual gallons.
1cu ft=25.75quarts ********************* .13333333... cu ft =1 gallon ****************************** 1 trade gallon=.75gallons=0.1cu ft
(the ***** is just to space it out so it is easier to read, since it wouldn't keep the spacing I had there)


I made 6 cubic feet (although I am pretty sure I made more of it, because I didn't use it all, but anyways here are the percentages I used to calculate the amount i needed for me.
for all of the sifted soils/mixes, I used some wire mesh I had left over when I was making the top to my snake cage, I think the wholes around about.. 1-2cm wide squares.. made the soil really fluffy and "clean"

5% wood ash-screen sifted
2.5% virmiculite- "fine" grade, (I would use more if I had the course kind around, but oh well)
5% Sphagnum Peat Moss
15% Compost from the leaf/mulch/branches ect.. in the back yard..-sifted
12.5% garden soil (from the garden, but any soil would be fine I would think, mine is pretty rich)- sifted
30% Perlite
30% Shredded Pike Bark

I also put about 1 Tsp bone meal in the bottom of the mix when potting them, and mixed it around.. then added some Mykos and Azos from RTI (hopefully it works really well) then put the plants in there and added more soil.. then put 1 tsp of blood meal on the top of the soil, and about 1 tsp of fast acting sulfur on top also.. and a few grains of some Muriate of Potash which 0-0-60, hence only having a few pellets of it, then put another thin layer of soil on top of that, then the thin layer of pine bark on top.

I topped it with pine bark to keep the top from drying out real fast, and it also keeps the water from making holes when I water them.. I have been watering from the top because I put all of them on the ground in the grow tent and I don't have room to put them all in containers or bottoms or anything like that.. and I have some ferts and stuff on the top of the soil under the mulch which will slowly dissolve into the soil

some things that I would change next time around:

use only 10% of the compost since the soil is really rich as it is and add the 5% from that to the Peat moss, to have a total of 10% peat moss..
I would also take the extra 2.5% from the 12.5% garden soil.. so it was only 10%, and add it to the Vermiculite and use course vermiculite instead of hte fine grain that I got from Hoffman's (Agway has a 4cu ft bag of the course kind, but I need to use up what I have first)..

either way, the mixture seems really good, it is pretty loose but will hold in moisture really well, which is good because I noticed that once the roots are established, they suck the water out a whole lot faster than when I first transplant them (which seems obvious now lol).. which is where I got in trouble before, with over watering my plants, I was giving them enough water to the whole 1 gallon bucket when they had not had their roots really established completely

plants are doing great a week later lol.. but I will give more updates when they really take off.. it will be very interesting to see how the Mykos does, it is suppose to be pretty good.
 
I posted a new thread last night about raised beds, and it didn't get much traction. I came across this and wanted to see if we could get a bit more input on the raised beds soil. It can get pretty expensive mixing 4 or 6 raised beds, and usually there are local places where you can get soil by the yard. I was wondering if any of you have been successful with this, and if so what did you get? A lot of the sellers have topsoil/compost mix and that would probably be the best route, but other than a shit ton of pearlite, would you add anything? Instead of going with a mix would anyone go straight topsoil and add their own stuff?

Usually the topsoil contians hardwood mulches ground fine and chipped, and the compost is a turkey manure blend.

I wanted to try to keep this one alive since it has a bunch of good info.
 
I haven't had raised beds, but I am working on keeping the garden pretty loose and aerated this year too since I have really heavy/dark and rich soil, and I'm using that top soil and the compost from the leaf pile in the pots, but after trying what Baker's Peppers was saying about the pine bark mulch.. the stuff seems to work great, I still have a little too much garden soil in there because the compost is already in there.. but the next batch of plants I am going to try to get some actual pine bark chips along with the shredded pine bark, and bump it up to 40%, the Perlite is good, but it doesn't break down eventually and the roots can kind of go through it, where the Perlite is just more solid.. I just know that the area that is basically a raised bed along the road, where my mom has her flowers and this I am going to put some of the extra pepper plants there is really loose and rich soil, and that is due to all the years of putting mulch there and it eventually breaking down, there are TONs of worms and the much tends to stay really loose even when it is broken down.

so my point is that I am going for the actual little chips like in BP's soil so that those stay a little more solid for a while longer, and then get the shredded pine bark, but just from looking around at what there is available around here for large quantities of soil, it is pretty expensive to try to get premixed stuff rather than just getting everything separate and mixing it yourself into something that you want(and I know you said it has chipped and shredded mulch in there, but I haven't seen too many that have a higher %, and tend to still be a little heavy.. but that is just around here. maybe not down there.)

.. but I guess we can see what other people will post on here.. it has been lacking some more input from the large number of people on here...
 
Was looking for a good raised bed mix which there are many different opinions depending on where you live and what's offered in your area. I was wanting to do a 50/50 pro mix & cotton bur compost (sold locally) but after reading this I'm afraid that would be too thick of a mix.

Our sand here get very compact in the heat and does not drain well at all but the peppers I planted in it last year kicked my containers butt ! I'm not 100% sold that given my location that it's necessarly a bad thing. Thoughts ? It's very hot and dry in the summer here in west Texas.
 
I have some raised beds and I go the cheap route with good results. I use cheap top soil and mix in a bale of peat moss for two 4x4's each season. But, I'm a compost Nazi and believe that's the ticket. But, a little compost goes a long way! Too much, and you'll have compaction. That's why I limit it too 10-15%. I top dress throughout the season.

After 20 years of growing peppers, I've learned peppers are the easiest plants to grow and produce. Except perhaps for Pubescens which grow great but are not so good producers, for me at least!
 
I've been raised bed gardening for two years now and have had great results with the mix I used. I got it from a local landscape company here. It's a real simple mix of 50/50 top soil and leaf mould compost. That's it. Well actually I did add a 10:10:10 granular fertilizer when I first put the mix in. Last year I added some Jobe's all purpose organic granular fert twice in the growing season. This year I'm experimenting with ramial chipped wood. At the end of my season last year, I mixed RCW into the top 2 inches of soil, then layed a 2 inch layer of RCW on top as mulch. The idea is that as the RCW breaks down, it will add nutrients back into the soil as well as improve soil structure. I went out the other day and had a peak u derneath the mulch, and the soil looked awesome. Sothinking the RCW is doing it's job. If all goes well, I shouldn't have to add any extra ferts. Just continue to replenish the mulch layer as it brraks down.
 
Edit:  Forgot to mention that it was Gary (Windchicken) who got me turned on to the idea of RCW.  
Here's some more info on RCW if anyone is interested: http://www.dirtdoctor.com/view_org_research.php?id=69
 
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