Here at Plant & Plot, we are quite the fans of The Hugelkultur method to fill up your raised garden beds. The Hugelkultur method is a gardening technique that involves filling garden beds with woody debris, such as fallen branches, logs, and twigs, and covering them with soil and organic matter. The goal of this method is to create a garden bed that is nutrient-rich, self-sustaining, and requires minimal watering. 

The first layer is typically a thin layer of cardboard, which is a great way to smother any weeds or grass that may be growing in the area and help prevent them from growing back. Simply lay the cardboard flat over the prepared soil, making sure to overlap any edges to completely cover the area. This will create a barrier that will prevent the weeds or grass from growing up into your raised garden bed. 

   The next layer would be wood logs and branches, which will create a foundation for your garden bed. The larger the logs, the longer they will take to break down, which is great for creating a long-lasting garden bed. You can use whole logs, cut logs, or even branches for this layer, just make sure they are not treated with any chemicals or preservatives. This layer will also help to improve drainage, which is important for keeping your garden bed healthy.

   Organic scraps such as vegetable and fruit peels, coffee grounds, tea leaves, and eggshells can be added on top of the logs and branches.

   Next, you can add a layer of compost on top of the organic scraps. Compost is an amazing natural fertilizer that is rich in nutrients, beneficial microbes, and organic matter. It will help to further enrich the soil and provide essential nutrients for your plants to thrive.

   Finally, add a layer of topsoil on top of the compost layer.

Overall, the Hugelkultur method offers a unique and sustainable approach to filling up a garden bed that can provide a long-term source of fertility and water retention for plant growth.

That being said, for the folks who don’t have access to a lot of the materials recommended for the Hugelkultur method, or are simply looking for the easier route, the soil mix method is the ultimate go-to. Also, it gives you control over soil quality: When you fill your garden bed with a soil mix, you have greater control over the quality of the soil in your garden bed. You can choose the specific materials that go into your soil mix, which can help ensure that it is free of contaminants and other issues that can affect plant growth.

   To fill your garden bed, we recommend 60% top soil, 30% compost, and 10% potting soil. See the guide for the amount of cubic feet needed for your specific garden bed here:

Using good quality soil and compost in a raised garden bed can help ensure that plants have access to the nutrients and water they need, which can lead to healthier and more abundant crops. Though it may require a bit of work in the beginning, the results will positively outweigh, time and time again.. 

Happy gardening!

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