All Things Gardening forum: How many 40lb bags of topsoil needed for a 36cuft (6'x6'x1') raised bed

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Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
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chris1948
Oct 12, 2016 6:32 PM CST
According to an answer to a similar question at Lowe's on their topsoil 8bags for an are slightly less than 200sqft but I'm working with cubic feet. I don't want to buy too many bags but I also don't want to buy too few. How can I get a good guesstimate on how much I need?
Chris
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
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NJBob
Oct 12, 2016 8:31 PM CST
I think it is closer to 1 40lb bag top soil = 1 cubic foot. Also remember a garden should be a mix including compost , peat moss , vermiculite.
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters Tomato Heads Garden Photography
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robynanne
Oct 12, 2016 8:39 PM CST
chris1948 said:According to an answer to a similar question at Lowe's on their topsoil 8bags for an are slightly less than 200sqft but I'm working with cubic feet. I don't want to buy too many bags but I also don't want to buy too few. How can I get a good guesstimate on how much I need?


Well, I dug out a 12X24 sandbox to turn it into a garden. I had pretty sandy "dirt" under it so I decided to add composted manure into the garden and mix it into the existing dirt. Using 40 pound bags, I think I ended up putting in over 4000 pounds of dirt. I mean, it was a LOT. So judging by that math, 6x6 would be about 12 bags? Can you just start with 6 and see how far you get with that?
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
Oct 12, 2016 8:54 PM CST
Thanks Bob and Robyn. Robyn, I'm going to have this as well as other materials delivered to the house so I'd best go with the maximum. I can always use it for something else if I have too much or get more with the car if I need to.
Chris
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Oct 13, 2016 6:15 PM CST
I guess this would be too late for you, but one way to visualize how far some bags will go is to lay those bags out flat on top of your bed. If the bags touch all the way around, you are about to add a layer as deep as one bag is thick. (3-4"?)

I would also mix any "alleged topsoil" with organic matter and anything else available to improve its drainage (like shredded pine bark fines or grit. Perlite if it is cheap enough.

One "dirt yard" sold me top soil that seemed much more clayey when the truck dropped it, than it did in the part of the heap that they showed ME! So now I'll be suspicious and cynical for a few years.

For gardening, especially if you have a raised bed, something lighter than "topsoil" might be desirable. I think of topsoil as something suitable for starting a lawn.

And your Lowes may be different, but some places consider "topsoil" to be any heavy thing they can get away with selling, while their "potting soil" might actually be better for garden soil. Good luck finding something light enough for really using in pots, unless your HD is MUCH better than my HD!

Other people have said they can use things called "potting soil" from big box stores AS potting soil, so either they have better stores than I do, or they manage to use much heavier, water-retaining mixes in their pots than I've been able to. Maybe both!
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
Oct 13, 2016 6:29 PM CST
Not too late Rick, I haven't made the order for all the materials at Lowe's yet. I'm actually waiting for a reply back from 'Black Kow' the company that makes this topsoil as to how many cubic feet a 40lb bag may contain. I'll also be adding some of their compost to the mix. Their topsoil is lots less expensive than potting soil or garden soil. The only potting soil I use for all my plants is EcoScraps. It's a bit more expensive but a lot better than MG.

Thanks for the suggestions.
Chris
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Oct 13, 2016 7:01 PM CST
I don't think I've bought many things from them, but "Back Kow" is a name I respect.

In an ideal world, after you add compost and anything else to their topsoil, it should "fluff up" more than it was in the bag, with multiple heavy pallets squeezing it flat.
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
Oct 13, 2016 7:41 PM CST
It's got great reviews at Lowe's. I plan on laying a base of cardboard, adding the topsoil and compost then see how many boxes of Nightcrawlers I can get at WM to get them started.
Chris
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Oct 13, 2016 7:58 PM CST
They sell boxes of nightcrawlers at Walmart??
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Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
Oct 13, 2016 8:25 PM CST
I believe they do. I know I've seen a cooler there with what looked like boxes of worms. If not I'll have to find them somewhere else.
Chris
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Oct 15, 2016 2:40 AM CST
I think those worms are fishing bait. But I also think I will take a look at them. Walmart has interesting pricings sometimes.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Oct 15, 2016 2:46 AM CST
As far as the bulk soil goes, it is always better to get a few bucket loads in a trailer than bags. 3 machine bucketloads of leaf-gro filled my trailer for $75. And when I visualized $75 of bags in the trailer, it wasn't 1/4 filled.
[Last edited by Yardenman - Oct 15, 2016 2:47 AM (+)]
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Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
Oct 15, 2016 7:52 AM CST
It would be nice if I could do that however I don't have a trailer. Having it delivered is an option also but I don't want to take the chance of it washing out into the street from my driveway before I can get it all into the backyard.
Chris
Name: Bonnie
Chandler, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Bee Lover Butterflies Hummingbirder Xeriscape Birds
Seed Starter Winter Sowing
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droughttolerant
Oct 15, 2016 7:57 AM CST
Hi! There are garden calculators on this site that might help. 36 cu ft = just under 11 sq ft. Maybe if you use one of them you can get a rough answer. http://garden.org/nga/calculators/
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
Oct 15, 2016 8:27 AM CST
Thanks Bonnie, I thought of that but the problem is the only thing I can find on the bag is it contains 40lbs of top soil. I contacted them earlier this week with the cubic foot question and never got a reply. Most garden products I've used have a weight and cubic foot listed on the bag.
Chris
Name: Bonnie
Chandler, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Bee Lover Butterflies Hummingbirder Xeriscape Birds
Seed Starter Winter Sowing
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droughttolerant
Oct 15, 2016 8:58 AM CST
Maybe this would help Crossing Fingers! : a 40 lb bag of "topsoil", "compost", "manure", etc is generally around .75 cubic feet by volume.

You would need 1 cu yd of topsoil for your 11 sq ft (36 cu ft) area, where the topsoil would be 1 inch deep.

Were you (are you) in the Army? My husband is retired Air Force.
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
chris1948
Oct 15, 2016 10:44 AM CST
Thanks Bonnie, hmm, I'll have to sit and figure that out then.

Yes, I was in the Army from '68-'90 when I retired then I worked on the Ft. Hood firing ranges with various contractors until I left there in 2013. I had enough of work by then and decided to call it quits.
Chris

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