The Q&A Archives: Amending Clay Soil for Raised Beds

Question: I want to start a vegitable garden in a raised bed. I do not want to use the soil that exists on my property since it is very clayey and I have not had good results with previous gardens. My question is, what mixture of materials such as peat moss, manure, etc. should I use to develop a suitable soil for the raised bed garden? I live approximately 40 miles northwest of Chicago. I plan on growing lettuce, peas, beans, tomatoes, radishes and maybe onoins. Thanks. Mark Mundelein, IL

Answer: One of the best growing media is compost. You can make your own or may be able to locate a local municipal source. Well rotted manure or rotted leaves can also form the basis for your raised beds. Also Garden Centers usually have a variety of soils that can be mixed with organic amendments that will perform well. If you can't fine enough compost, try mixing in equal parts of peat moss and topsoil to form a rich bed.

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