If you have super tall raised beds inyour garden like this one or just a lot of raised beds, then it can get pretty expensive tofill it with the perfect raised bed mix.
Kevin Espiritu here from Epic Gardeningwhere it's my goal to help you grow a greener thumb, but on a budget.
When I first started gardening back in2010 I mentored under none other than Mel Bartholomew of Square Foot Gardening.
This is the bestselling gardening bookof all time and I was lucky enough to work directly with him forabout 18 months or so.
Now, one of the things he always touted in hissquare foot gardening method was Mel's mix.
It was one third peatmoss, one third vermiculite, and one third blended sourcesof compost.
Now I can't lie.
It was an extremelypowerful and potent mix, but it was also very expensive and healso recommended raised beds that were about six inches tall.
As you cansee, this one is not six inches tall.
This bed here is 30 inches tall and theshortest bed in my garden is 15 inches tall.
Now I like it.
I'm six foot four.
I want to be able to standand actually work in the bed.
So if I'm standing I can just kind ofhang out and garden while I'm standing up.
But if I filled this whole thing withMel's mix, with a bunch of bags of mix, it would be so freaking expensive.
So I'm stealing twoconcepts.
One, Hugelkultur, it's a German concept.
And then also a modificationof Hugelkultur from myfriend Mark over at Self Sufficient Me over in Australia.
Sohello to Mark, go check his channel out.
But before we get into the method, cultivate that Like button ifyou would like Epic fertile soil.
And let's get into the video.
So the trick of this method, to halve the cost of your soil ormore, depending on how you do it, is to understand how a lotof plants' root systems grow.
Most of them aren't getting too muchfurther than 12 to 18 inches down.
At least many of these annual vegetablesthat you and I like to grow in our gardens.
And so in a 30inch bed like this one, that's probably about there or so, which means, what am I doing down here? What am I gonna fill this up with?Well, if you use this method, you're going to fill itup with organic matter, but it doesn't have to be optimal.
It can be logs, brush, sticks, twigs, grass clippings, unfinished, partially finished compost.
I've thrown in a bunchof vegetable trimmings.
There's a ton of things you can do.
Sowhat I'll show you is kind of the inside.
Now what we're doing is we're basicallycutting our soil cost in half or more.
I might even fill up toabout the 60% mark here.
And then from here we just pretendthat this is the new bottom.
So if about 50 or 60% of thisbed is now organic fill material, then what are we using righthere? It's a great question.
You can go cheap or you cango pretty expensive here.
So you could go somethinglike Mel's mix, which again, that'd be one third vermiculite, one third peat moss, and one third about four orfive sources of blended compost.
That's probably your highest end option.
You could also do something like myfriend Joe Lamp'l's recipe which is 50% topsoil, 25% compost, 25% othersources of organic matter, horse manure, cow manure, things like that.
You could, like I'm going to do in thisvideo, go with a bag mix.
I'm going to use Espoma Organic'sraised bed mix on the top right here.
And sometimes I like to use a bag mixjust because that's more accessible to many of you watching this videorather than saying, oh, you know, just call someone up and have them dumptwo yards of perfect raised bed mix.
A lot of us don't have access to that.
So for the purposes of this video, I will be using EspomaOrganic's raised bed bags mix.
But let's take a look inside and I'llshow you how I fill it up and then fill the top off.
So what I've done over the last fewdays is I've gone ahead and grabbed some fill material.
So you can seehere some flowering brassicas, I have a random debris ofwhatever plant that is.
I've got some grass, I have some dirt, I have some germinating seeds in here.
Here are some leaves and stuff.
Andthat fills up about six inches or so, so it's not enough, I needto get up to about here.
So I'm going to do is I'm going to goover to my passive compost pile right there and shovel a bunch of thatin here and then we'll top it off, once we get to about here or so, withthe rest of that high quality mix.
You know the beauty of this is that everysingle scoop you just saw me put in is a scoop that I didn't have to buy.
And you can make it even cheaper byputting in the larger wooden products like your logs, your sticks and your twigs.
If you're doing a big pruning job inthe backyard, some grass clippings, this passively composted pile isgoing to be absolutely perfect.
And we have about, I wouldsay 40% of this left to fill, so before the light gets too low, let'sgo ahead and do that.
Like I said, I'm going to use the EspomaOrganic1.
5 cubic foot raised bed mix.
It's fantastic and the beauty is I probably have to usea little bit less than half as many of these bags.
So I get to use the rest of it in someother part of my garden and save more money.
[inaudible] Please ignore the fact that Ijust spilled some over the top [inaudible] Well we were losing the light, so I figured I would get a cool shotas the sun sets on yet another day.
We have about an inch or two of alip and you can guess why down in the comments.
But if you're an Epic Gardener you knowit's because we want a mulch layer on top, after we plant this out, to have a nice protective layer ontop of the high quality mix.
But guys, it's really that simple.
Like I said, logs, larger volume pieces of organic matterare going to be really nice because they fill up more space at an evenlower cost in the bottom.
And those are eventuallygoing to break down.
They're going to become homefor bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi, all sorts of differentthings that eventually willbecome the soil in your bed.
And as you grow in somethinglike this, it's going to sink.
It'll maybe sink two, three inchesin a year, maybe the first year, slightly more.
And what you'll do is you'll just topdress with some more compost and mulch over the top of that.
Soit's really just that easy.
And I know I'm going to get questions, so I'm going to say go to the pinnedcomment in this video and you will see all the information you want to see aboutsome of the math behind how much money you might be able to save.
And also someinformation on these raised beds here.
So it's really that easy guys.
I would love to know ifyou have a creative method, drop that in the comments.
Until next time, good luck inthe garden and keep on growing.