» Soil-Mix and Fertilizers to Use for Raised Beds

Soil-Mix and Fertilizers to Use for Raised Beds

Q. I’ve read about using manure, compost and peat for planting medium in a square foot garden. What is the ratio one to the other for a veggie garden. I would like to use organic fertilizers also. Do I need to buy top-soil to mix with the other stuff too? I’m thinking of using 2″x12″ for the frame.

A. I highly recommend you consider carefully before using manure and compost in your raised-bed garden. It is believed that more than 90% of the composted materials available to the family gardener have NOT been sterilized in the composting process.

To be sure you have clean materials you would have to know that they had been composted at 140 degrees for 3 weeks. That’s what it takes to produce compost using aerobic processes, and that’s the only sure way I know of to remove diseases, weed seeds, and bugs.

I suggest you use a mix of three ingredients, including sand (30%) and any of these: sawdust, perlite, peat moss, or vermiculite – in that order of preference. Do not use top soil in the mix, as that is heavy, difficult to work with, and also often contains the 3 “badies”.

In addition to the great potential for problems with the above, using manure and compost leave you guessing as to what you are giving your plants by way of nutrition.

And the third reason you need to be careful is that using manure and compost can often lead to a salinity problem with your tiny plants. Plants need small amounts of 13 mineral nutrients over the entire course of their growing cycle, rather than one large application of fertilizer salts (which manure and compost have) at one time.

We teach and demonstrate the best growing principles and procedures, which allow us to promise the world “a great garden in any soil, in any climate” with no record of a successful challenge in the past 40+ years.

We use small measured amounts of natural mineral nutrients to give plants exactly what they need for sustained healthy growth, and we teach you exactly how to do the same.

And you only need frames 8″ high, rather than 12″‘s. You’ll save on materials, fertilizers, water, and work, and your plants will bless you.

I invite you to visit the Foundation’s website at, specifically the FAQ section, where you’ll find many worthwhile short articles on growing organically. And the Learn section will teach you everything you need to know to have a highly successful garden – without buying anything from us.

Best wishes,

Jim Kennard, President
Food For Everyone Foundation
“Teaching the world to grow food one family at a time.” –