Raised Garden Bed Soil Recipe

Soil recipe for raised garden beds

Hey there, there is an updated post on filling a raised bed for under $10 here.

For your vegetables to grow strong and healthy you really need to start with your dirt.

Time and time again I see people at the checkouts of the local garden centre with a trolley full of the worst potting mix you can possibly buy and these beautiful plants that I know are headed for their untimely death. It’s likely that after they’ve wasted all this money on poor quality potting mix they will give up on gardening all together, which is the real waste.

Finding the right mix can be super confusing. And when it comes to filling a raised bed, you may be tempted to head to your local landscaping company, fork out $500 on good quality garden soil only to get the same results that you would have got if you purchased the cheap potting mix from your garden centre. I know I’ve been there, it took a good 6 months to fix that soil even though I was sold that it premium vegetable garden soil and ready to go.

There are many things that make a good soil for your vegetable patch and over the years I have developed a bit of a recipe for creating new beds and replenishing old ones. And you won’t have to wait 6 months to get it right (pic above is 6 weeks after planting).

My trick is many ingredients and layering these ingredients.

My raised bed soil recipe

  • Start with a layer of garden clippings
  • Add a layer of  compost (best if you make it yourself)
  • Add a layer of well aged manure (check out my round up of poops here)
  • Add rock minerals (follow instructions on the pack for the size of your bed) / Worm Castings or my Goodie Mix (find it inside the Dirt Lovers Membership)
  • Add a layer of sugar cane mulch or lucerne
  • Top off with a thick layer of your compost 

If you want the exact amounts you can download my PDF cheatsheet here. 

I finish off the top with another layer of sugar cane mulch. Make sure it’s right up to the top as it settles it will drop.  I then water it in, let it sit for a week and then begin planting.

Do you have a go to recipe for your raised beds?


Soil recipe for a raised garden beds

Want the step by step recipe for my raised bed method?
Sign up to grab the PDF cheat sheet here.

20 thoughts on “Soil recipe for raised garden beds”

  1. Brooke Palframan

    Katie I didn’t read anywhere in the article that said the recipe was “simple”. Good things don’t have to be simple. Sometimes they take time and complexity but are worth it in the end. Great article Nikki.

  2. Hi Nikki what would you recommend to top up older beds with? Ive got about 20cm to top up and the soil I originally used was not your mix but it’s not too bad.
    Thank you 😊

  3. I need your potting mix recipe. The potting mix we buy is terrible. Last one I bought looks as tho it has tiny bits of plastic in it. Thank you

  4. I’m in Perth. I have a problem with slaters eating my seedlings and even mature veggie plants? My raised beds are about five years old now in need of some top-up soil and nutrients. In the past I’ve tried so called aged cow, sheep etc from Bunnings and it seems to be full of slater eggs (what-ever). I’m reluctant to add mulch these days as it lets the slaters breed up to huge numbers as it provides a hiding place for them. when I look at night with a torch they’re everywhere. I’ve seen them up my snow peas munching away at new green shoots. Have you ever had to deal with them? They are definitely not the friend of the garden that some people claim they are.

    1. Yeah they can be pretty destructive to baby seedlings. Do you have chickens? Could you put them in the bed to give them a good turn over? Otherwise I tried orange halves (after they’ve been juiced cut side down) and just collected them first thing in the morning, usually the slaters hide up in there.

  5. Hi Nicki. Thanks for the useful info. I am making raised beds 2.4m x 1.2m. But I notice that you say “”a handful of this, a handful of that”, but you don’t say how big your beds are. What I am not sure of is how much of each ingredient to add (esp. chicken poo, mushroom, worm castings, etc. Don’t want to overdo it!). Thanks for any help.

    1. Hi Jon, it’s not an exact science and just a general guide but this is for the 1m x 1m bed. If you’re using bought manure follow the instructions (they vary from 2-5cm), fresh manure I would use less than 1cm covering. Worm castings use as much as you have. I literally just sprinkle so you see it but it’s not covered. Again read your product descriptions as it’s all different.

  6. Hi Nikki, the main layers (except handful additions) in your recipe are sugar cane, manure and compost. Should these go on top of main garden soil? Or they are everything needed?
    And can you please give an estimate for thickness of each layer? I will use rotted cow manure not fresh.
    Thank you.

    1. this is a lasagne style so the sugarcane is the carbon helps with the breakdown of the manure. If using store bought manure then around 2-5cm as it’s often blended. If it’s not blended around 1-2cm will be enough. Compost around 5cm except for that top layer that needs to be around 15cm

  7. Thank you for your recipe 🙂 I’m not setting myself up for failure this time and really trying to get my soil nourished before I plant anything, so this info is really helpful.

  8. Hi Nikki

    I am preparing a raised garden bed for flowers i.e. hydrangea, daphne, lavender etc. can you tell me if the soil mix should be the same as for a vege garden bed.

  9. Derek Nottingham

    Got any tips on controlling Grasshoppers ? We are in Perth and we get them in all colours and sizes and they just eat everything . Ate all the leaves of my miniature roses and they died . Drives me berko !

    1. Birds.

      No residual sprays work. So it’s controlling numbers. Keep an eye out for the big ones early in the season and get rid of them and just keep catching as many as you can.

      Mr 3 is on the case for me here. Catches and feeds to the chickens.

Question or Comment? Leave it below

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Notify me We will inform you when we have these seeds back in stock. Please leave your valid email address below.
Scroll to Top