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Mar 26, 2016 4:12 AM CST
I am thinking about building a raised bed garden, 4x8 feet, 8 inches deep. This would require about a square yard and a half of top soil. Before I go any further in this plan I need to know the cost of this top soil and where would I be able to purchase this? I live in Gwinn.

Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Mar 26, 2016 4:53 AM CST
Welcome! ScottHull. We may need to know a bit more about you, and where you live. Please fill in the details on your profile page so we can help you better.
You can usually find a local place that sells soil etc. by the cubic yard that will deliver. That would seem to be a better option than buying by the bag.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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Mar 26, 2016 11:58 AM CST
When you buy, be sure to check the soil before it's delivered. We bought what was supposed to be great topsoil, and it turned out to be totally clay, and pretty much unusable right away.Beware if it is a lot of big clods!
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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Mar 26, 2016 4:12 PM CST
Scott, would that be Gwinn, Michigan? We aren't being busybodies, just need to know what your climate is like to give you good advice.

If you have a local plant nursery, they are the first place to go to buy your garden soil. Most nurseries sell "topsoil" which really can be almost anything, and they also sell "compost" which surely will be a lot more organic material than the topsoil. Go for as much compost as you can, and mix it with your existing soil if it's any good at all. It will be a little more money, but a LOT better value.

Some counties have a composting program at the landfill - ours makes fabulous compost that is free for the taking (but you have to load and transport it yourself). In Salt Lake City where my daughter lives, we got great compost from the landfill and they had a front-end loader to load it in your truck for you. But they charged $25 per load. (that's really cheap for good compost).

May I suggest you make your bed a little narrower than 4ft. ? It's hard to reach the middle of a 4ft wide bed, to weed, plant and dig. Once you prepare your soil, you really REALLY don't want to be tramping around in it, compacting the soil. Also, when you fill it up, pile the soil well up over the height of the sides, as you will get a lot of settling, and by the end of summer what was 12in. of soil depth will have settled down to 6in. or less.

Here are our raised beds at the local school - first picture when the beds were built in August, soil is just below the rims, second picture taken in October, the soil has already subsided nearly 3in. (this is also how I know that 4ft. is a little bit too wide . . . we built 4 new beds that are 3ft. wide and are SO much easier to work in).
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
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Mar 26, 2016 8:35 PM CST
Welcome to All Things Plants, @ScottHull !

I'm assuming you're in Gwinn in the UP ? Hello from Ford River!!

There should be plenty of contractors in the area around Marquette/Gwinn that sell topsoil... look for contractors that sell sand and gravel, or do septic tank stuff, or landscaping. Have them deliver at least twice as much as you think you need; having a stockpile of topsoil is a wonderful thing! Smiling
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