Best soil for a raised bed?

Chad Schroter
Mon, 14 Jul 2014 08:49:53 PDT
        I have a similar bed in Los Gatos (not far from you). My native soil is a Silty Loam with lots of medium sized stones - commercially apricot trees used to be grown here.  The only thing I have added was some builders sand and large pumice, both because I just happened to have it on hand.   I have mostly planted it with pots of 2nd year bulbs started from seed. So far I have had good results with everything but a Tecophilaea which dwindled away.  The more common Morea's like aristata do just fine in my soil with no amendments.

I have used the 1/2" size hardware cloth for many years and it has not rusted out in any beds yet (10+ years). For this bed I also covered the top with metal fencing with large openings (4-6") to deter the cats.  As a project some years ago I started casting raised bed panels from concrete or hypertufa with wire mesh inside.  Each panel is about 13" tall, 2" thick and 48" long - so I use 6 to make a typical raised bed. Needless to say they will outlast the wood ones.

Chad Schroter

-----Original Message-----
From: pbs [] On Behalf Of Carolyn Craft via pbs
Sent: Sunday, July 13, 2014 2:21 PM
Subject: Re: [pbs] Best soil for a raised bed?

Mike, I like to add 'Dry Stall' to the mix. It's pumice and can be  bought in large bags at 'Sam's downtown feed store' on San Carlos blvd.  It  is cheaper than buying pumice at nurseries.

In a message dated 7/13/2014 12:34:28 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

I'd like  to ask for the wisdom of the list.

I'm building a raised  bed this summer to hold surplus bulbs. It'll be
contained by pressure  treated lumber, about seven inches (18 cm) deep, 3'
wide (1 m) and 25' long  (8 m). It will have hardware cloth on the bottom,
and will sit over native  soil that has been solarized.

Since I'll be using it for  surplus bulbs, I don't want to take the time and
expense to do the  pots-in-plunge media thing that many folks on the list
in beds.  Instead, I'll just plant the bulbs directly into the bed, allowing
them to  mix gloriously over time. (Well, I hope it'll be glorious.)

My  question to the list is, what sort of soil do you recommend that I use
the bed? The same as my potting medium, or something else? The problem  with
my usual potting mix is that it breaks down in a few years, and I want  this
bed to last.

The bulbs in the bed will be Moraeas,  Glads, and a few other miscellaneous
winter-growing things from South  Africa and California.

Any advice on the soil (or anything  else)?



San Jose, CA  (zone 9, min temp 20F /  -6C)

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