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Soil for raised flower beds

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  • Aug 20th, 2021 4:17 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
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Jul 2, 2008
2122 posts
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Toronto

Soil for raised flower beds

Hi all,

Two questions:

1. Does anyone know the optimal mix for raised flower beds?

I got four 4x4 raised beds, 12 inches tall. Planning to toss a bunch of spring flower bulbs in there in September, but I need to fill them up first. I'm a complete gardening noob, so no idea what mix of soil to put in them.

2. Where to get the soil? I'm located in the East end.

I looked around at some landscaping companies. I can get 1 cubic yard of triple mix for $130 delivered. From an online calculator, I need around 2.4 cubic yards to fill all four planters, so it really adds up.
13 replies
Deal Addict
Dec 19, 2015
2964 posts
1540 upvotes
Calgary, AB
Triple mix should be good. You want mostly dirt with some compost and additives in.

Price I can’t help but that price is probably not unreasonable. Here you’re looking at around $70 a yard (bulk) but then you’re paying $100 for delivery. It’s an annoying amount because delivery becomes expensive.

Perhaps look at bagged soil and pick it up in a car if you don’t have a truck?
Deal Addict
Nov 7, 2012
1440 posts
769 upvotes
TORONTO
You don't need to fill the whole thing with soil. You can put leaves and old non treated wood/chips on the bottom half. Rocks work as well. Basically, you don't need a full 12" of soil for plants to grow. You can add filler. Theres a few videos on youtube. Theres an Aussie/NZ guy who gives a good breakdown on how to fill a large planter.
Deal Expert
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Sep 1, 2005
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Markham
For raised beds, you want something ideally lighter than triple mix. Are you planting seeds? Or will you be planting something like 4"pot plants?
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
Deal Addict
Dec 19, 2015
2964 posts
1540 upvotes
Calgary, AB
gr8dlr wrote: For raised beds, you want something ideally lighter than triple mix. Are you planting seeds? Or will you be planting something like 4"pot plants?
Even when planting seeds triple mix will be fine. It's not a planter/pot.

TBH filling it with topsoil and then adding a couple of bags of manure and a bag or two of peat would work too.
Deal Addict
Mar 22, 2017
2431 posts
3201 upvotes
West GTA
You can use whatever, it isn't that dissimilar from soil in the ground. Some people like to make it a bit lighter as it does have some mild pot-like characteristics, by mixing one bag of potting mix per 5-6 bags of garden soil or triple mix. Square foot gardening is an equal mix of compost, peat moss and vermiculite, which makes for a pretty light mix.
Deal Addict
Dec 25, 2007
1313 posts
822 upvotes
GTA
$130 for a yard of triple mix is a lot. Locally I can get a yard for $50 dropped on my driveway
Deal Fanatic
Dec 6, 2006
5556 posts
1775 upvotes
Toronto
smitty9999 wrote: $130 for a yard of triple mix is a lot. Locally I can get a yard for $50 dropped on my driveway
$50 delivered/dropped? Which company?
Moderator
May 28, 2012
11941 posts
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Saskatoon
It's usually the delivery fee that drives up the cost. I'd look at seasonal clearance of bagged soils that happen around now. I wouldn't put any old dirt i.e. topsoil/black earth into the planting bed without amending it a lot with organic material (compost) and some perlite/vermiculite. Roots need air and topsoil will compact over time...sure plants will grow in pretty much anything but the ones with good, light soil will thrive.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 6, 2006
5556 posts
1775 upvotes
Toronto
Mars2012 wrote: It's usually the delivery fee that drives up the cost. I'd look at seasonal clearance of bagged soils that happen around now. I wouldn't put any old dirt i.e. topsoil/black earth into the planting bed without amending it a lot with organic material (compost) and some perlite/vermiculite. Roots need air and topsoil will compact over time...sure plants will grow in pretty much anything but the ones with good, light soil will thrive.
Yeah $40-$60 a yard picking up is normal. Having it delivered, whether just dump on driveway or in a tot, is another price level ($140-$180). If there's $50 delivered I'm all over it.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
22877 posts
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Eastern Ontario
Mars2012 wrote: It's usually the delivery fee that drives up the cost. I'd look at seasonal clearance of bagged soils that happen around now. I wouldn't put any old dirt i.e. topsoil/black earth into the planting bed without amending it a lot with organic material (compost) and some perlite/vermiculite. Roots need air and topsoil will compact over time...sure plants will grow in pretty much anything but the ones with good, light soil will thrive.
This

In the weeks to come places like Loblaws Group will be clearing out all their soil products
Bags typically go for $ 1 each
That’s cheap … vs a load of soil + delivery fee

When the sale comes … we stock up
All our gardening is containers, raised beds, etc
So we go thru a lot of soil annually
(Changing out soil … vs crop rotation )

We make a few runs …
Still easier than a dump truck load and having to wheelbarrow from the driveway
Bags are lighter … just more of them

We pile em up in the back shed for the winter
No harm no foul when we use them in the Spring
If anything … we feel it kills off any of the possible bugs inside

Been doing this for years
It’s a big cost saver

Come Spring …
We dump out all our containers of last years soil
And put it into our flat ground level flower beds
And use it to also top dress the lawns

Add some Pro Mix, Compost, (and/or Peat Moss if specific planting required) to the bagged soil
Mix it all up
And begin refilling our planters

A few containers the recipe changes
With more ProMix in the ratio
We favour their Herbs & Veggies variety for Herbs, Tomatoes, Peppers etc
Any thing who’s roots don’t like being too compacted
Or tends to be more finicky to grow (very short season … needs a good head start for best results )
Deal Addict
Nov 21, 2007
3112 posts
1037 upvotes
Scarborough
EbonyRose wrote: ....
2. Where to get the soil? I'm located in the East end.

I looked around at some landscaping companies. I can get 1 cubic yard of triple mix for $130 delivered. From an online calculator, I need around 2.4 cubic yards to fill all four planters, so it really adds up.
Saves you a few $

$130x3= $390 compare to

($99x3)+30= $327

Not endorsing, I have never been there yet. Ask if they would pre-mix the top soil & the triple mix into the 3 bags that you need.
[OP]
Deal Addict
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Jul 2, 2008
2122 posts
342 upvotes
Toronto
gr8dlr wrote: For raised beds, you want something ideally lighter than triple mix. Are you planting seeds? Or will you be planting something like 4"pot plants?
I'm planting spring bulbs like tulips, daffodils and peonies mainly.

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