Ask a Question forum: Raised Bed / Compost Manure Question

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Name: Kathy
(Zone 5a)
Daylilies Seed Starter Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader
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TreeClimber
May 1, 2016 8:10 AM CST
I have a couple of new raised beds that are deep. I know I don't need the depth for the roots, but the point for me was to raise the height so there is less bending.

They are sturdy, but I am still questioning what to put in them (it will take a lot). I have lots of compost/manure mix, but it is heavy. Any suggestions on what I could mix it with to lighten up the weight and increase drainage? Or, do I need to?

I was thinking Peat, because it's inexpensive, quick, and easy for me to purchase.



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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
May 1, 2016 9:55 AM CST
I would add perlite. Peat would just to the heaviness.
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
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Shadegardener
May 1, 2016 10:50 AM CST
I agree on the perlite. Some independent nurseries or farm stores might carry the biiig bags. I would avoid the brands that have added fertilizer to the perlite.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
May 1, 2016 11:08 AM CST
I certainly agree. Peat not only would add to the weight but also increase the acidity. I purchase super coarse perlite by the 4 cf. bag. That's a lot of perlite. Because perlite is so light, even a huge bag like this ships for a moderate amount. You could also add something like cypress or another hardwood mulch. This adds organic matter which will break down over 1-2 years. Until it breaks down, the mulch will open the soil.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
http://www.tropicalplantsandmo...
I don't have gray hair, I have wisdom-highlights. I must be very wise.
Name: Kathy
(Zone 5a)
Daylilies Seed Starter Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader
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TreeClimber
May 1, 2016 11:24 AM CST
Thanks you guys, I have both of the ingredients you suggested.

How much perlite? Is there a percentage like 1 part per X part soil?

I have a big pile of hardwood mulch too ............ sounds like you have solved my dilemma. ;)
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
May 1, 2016 11:38 AM CST

Plants Admin

If you don't need the depth this site puts milk crates on the bottom covered with hardware cloth and landscaping fabric.
http://www.rodalesorganiclife....
Evan
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
May 1, 2016 11:47 AM CST
I think you could add perlite at 1/4 to 1/3 of the total volume. Do mix it in well. The wood mulch - I would keep that towards the bottom of the bed.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Name: Kathy
(Zone 5a)
Daylilies Seed Starter Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader
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TreeClimber
May 1, 2016 11:49 AM CST
A friend suggest Milk Jugs or Styrofoam etc ... but I was concerned about the beds being top heavy.

Thanks so much for the link to the page that suggest milk crates ..... so many ideas out there that I would never have thought of myself.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
Tropical Plants & More
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
May 1, 2016 12:02 PM CST
In my opinion, it matters not where the hardwood mulch/bark is. I see little value if it is simply dumped into the bottom, where few if any roots will even penetrate. I use it liberally in my raised garden as well as the super-coarse perlite. My terrestrial orchid mix has cypress mulch mixed in, and those plants do well with it in the media. In my experience, cypress will outlast pine (which I never use) and regular hardwood mulch 2 to 1.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
http://www.tropicalplantsandmo...
I don't have gray hair, I have wisdom-highlights. I must be very wise.

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