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Soil Prep New Raised Beds -- Till vs. Lasagna

15 years ago

Hi all,

We are converting an area of our grass yard (~3"-6" top soil) into a 15' x 15' vegetable garden. The plan is to create 11" high raised beds (2 2x6) that are 3.5' x 6' to 12' feet. Having figured out location, dimensions, and framing material, next is soil preparation.

Our plan was to remove the sod, create the beds, and then blend in a couple of yards of topsoil compost mix (70% "topsoil" 30% compost/manure) with the native soil. After reading the posts on this forum for the past few days, it sounds like that is not the right approach and that 1) we should consider the lasagna method instead of removing the sod, and 2) if we do add topsoil, it should be the minority addition rather than majority.

Given that we want to plant our beds almost immediately (max two week wait), what do you recommend as the best approach for the sod and bed filler? Lots of other material suggests its critical to blend soil layers rather than just adding on top but I guess Lasagna removes the need for this? I guess a compromise is to do lasagna but still disturb some of the turf?

As for the fill, if we go with the lasagna method should I buy bulk compost, bulk topsoil, and layer the two along with some leaves and grass clippings I have from last year? Or just buy it preblended and layer with my limited supply of leaves and grass clippings? And with either of these two approaches should I be blending in vermiculite?

Lots of questions but there is so much conflicting information on the web, probably because there are lots of good ways of doing it. But being a beginner its hard to know where I can pick and choose and where I need to commit fully to particular strategy.


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