Four Ways to Replace Raised Bed Soil (Easy & Affordable)
At the beginning of the growing season, you should rejuvenate the soil in your raised beds. Doing so will make your next harvest more bountiful and your plants healthier. Each year, plants take nutrients out of the raised bed soil. After a long growing season, the soil lacks nutrients, negatively impacting your new plants.
It is less important to rejuvenate soil outside of raised beds. However, since raised beds contain soil in a controlled environment, it will need to be replaced and cared for. I recommend doing this every year for the best results.
Want to read more about caring for raised beds? Then we have a collection of articles for you!
Why Is It Important To Replace The Soil?
Unfortunately, as they grow, flowers, vegetable plants, and herbs draw nutrition from the soil. Raised beds can’t restore those nutrients on their own. Thus the soil can rapidly turn extremely lifeless and sterile. Sadly, this can occur pretty fast. Depending on the plant varieties you produce, it could take as little as a year.
Not only does the deterioration of soil impact the nutrients, but also the ability of your plants to retain water. Soil that is sterile is not as absorbent as nutritiously-dense soil, and you will need to water your plants more often.
These factors cause plants to grow slowly and yield less fruit with each passing season. Stale, worn-out soil also serves as a haven for pests and diseases. So, if the other reasons aren’t good enough for you to start rejuvenating your soil, maybe this is!
Fortunately, you can maintain your bed’s health by adding a few essential life-giving elements at the beginning of each growing season. Below are four easy ways that I recommend rejuvenating your soil!
4 Ways To Rejuvenate Your Garden
Nothing will give your lifeless soil greater strength and vitality than compost. Everything the soil in raised beds needs most is abundant in compost. To begin with, it is rich in nutrients and microorganisms. When added to the soil, all of these are quickly absorbed by plant roots.
But compost also aids in aerating the soil to promote greater, more powerful, and quicker root development. If that isn’t enough, it can absorb numerous times its own weight in water. This ensures that your plants will always receive the moisture they require.
So… to what extent should you add compost? The easiest answer is to add whatever you can squeeze in! Seriously, the more compost, the healthier your plants will be!
In a raised bed, replacing or adding 15 to 20% of compost to the current soil is a good idea. That will more than suffice to revitalize and even improve depleted soils.
What are we going to do with any soil that we might remove? It does make a great contribution to our compost pile, though. Adding some organic matter to the pile also helps the old soil quickly recharge when combined with the new compost.
Perlite is a component that you might not consider including in raised beds. But it can make beds that are healthier and more effective!
Although this substance resembles popcorn and is frequently used to lighten and aerate potting soils, raised beds can also benefit from using it.
When applied to raised beds, perlite, which is all-natural and completely organic, prevents soil compaction. It also makes air passageways so that water and nutrients may reach the roots of plants.
The best time to apply perlite is right before planting when the soil around each plant needs to have added a cup or two. In this manner, the soil is precisely loosened where you need it.
The fact that perlite never degrades is one of its most important qualities. As a result, you will continue to expand your planting grounds each year.
Old-fashioned manure is the fastest way to add nutrients to raised bed soil, second only to compost.
The best manures to use are chickens, rabbits, cows, goats, and horses. The nutrients that plants like the most are abundant in them. Additionally, they are by far the easiest to locate. Especially if you don’t have the good fortune to have a chicken coop in your backyard!
Early spring or late fall are the ideal times to spread manure. This will give the soil adequate time to decompose before planting. Add a few inches to the top, and then use a shovel or rake to mix it in.
Using old, dry manure rather than really new manure is crucial. The smell of dried manure won’t be strong, to start. Furthermore, fresh manure can be rich in nutrients and quickly burn plant roots.
Your soil’s quality and long-term health can greatly affect how and what you fertilize your raised bed plants during the growing season.
Numerous commercial fertilizers have the potential to eventually damage the soil. They can raise the salt levels and change the PH. As a result, the soil requires increasing amounts of fertilizer to yield the same outcomes.
And for this reason, employing natural fertilizers is crucial! They enrich the soil with residual value and provide additional nutrients to your plants.
Compost tea and worm casting tea are two excellent examples. Both sources of nutrients immediately give plants energy. In addition, the liquid that seeps into the soil just makes it more fertile and robust.
There are many ways that you can rejuvenate your soil for the new gardening year. However, I recommend using one of these simple four ways (compost, natural fertilizer, manure, and perlite). I’ve found that they’re often cheaper and easier than most other pre-made solutions as well!