Raised beds are an effective way to grow more with less space. They can easily transform a patio or backyard into a green, vibrant paradise.
Raised beds are so popular nowadays because they give gardeners so much choice. You decide what fruits, flowers, and vegetables to grow. You decide how big the bed is, and how high off the ground it is, too. You even decide where your crops will grow. And if you want, you can change your mind at any time and move them!
And while everyone’s choices might be different, there is one thing which remains the same for everybody. Choosing high-quality soil.
Without nutritious minerals and vitamins found in the soil, your plants will not thrive in a raised bed reach their growth potential.
For that reason, to get the most of your vegetables and fruits in a raised bed, you need the best soil.
High-quality soil helps plants in raised beds in particular by:
- Fertilizing them, giving them a head-start to grow faster and stronger
- Improving drainage and moisture retention
- Enhancing root development and disease resistance
With that in mind, we’ve picked 10 of the best soils for raised beds, that we feel offers you the best value and support to your plants.
Each one comes with a plethora of useful vitamins and minerals your plants will need to yield bigger fruits and grow even stronger.
10 of the Best Soils for Raised Beds:
1. Miracle-Gro Raised Bed Soil
Do you want to grow bigger, more bountiful plants with no extra work? Well with this raised bed soil from Miracle-Gro, you can!
Made for vegetables, fruits, and flowers, this soil provides the right foundations for plants to thrive. It covers up to 1.5 cu. Ft., and will provide essential nutrients directly to all your plants, allowing them to thrive and grow to their potential.
The bedding soil also improves drainage and is effectively simplifies controlling weeds and pests, too. With a 100% organic that requires no mixing, you can get to work in just 3 simple steps, including:
- Fill your raised bed with the soil
- Plant your seeds
- Water carefully to moisten soil! That’s it!
You can also add additional mulch or fertilizer alongside this soil for an even more intense nutritional diet for your seedlings and plants.
- A pre-mixed blend which can get to work straight away
- 100% organic formula provides essential nutrients for plants
- Improves drainage and improves the control of weeds and pests
- Suitable for vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs
2. Compressed Organic Potting-Soil for Raised Beds from Organic Plant Magic
Tired of carrying around heavy bags of potting soil? This lightweight, compressed soil from Organic Plant Magic expands up to 7 times with just a mix of water!
Not only is it compact and easy to store, but this soil is highly nutritious, and will help your plants grow up to 3 times bigger.
How? This soil holds up to 50% more water than regular soil, making it the perfect way of watering plants in raised beds. Because it retains moisture more effectively, you won’t have to water your plants as often.
Made from 100% natural ground coconut coir, worm castings, and beneficial bacteria, your plants will be given all the minerals they need to take root and grow for months on end.
Better quality plants ensure better quality fruits and vegetables – expect a drastic improvement in taste when compared to crops fertilized with chemical-based fertilizers.
Lastly, this soil and can be mixed with existing soil in raised beds to top up nutrients. It is also both pet and child friendly, allowing you to add it safely to busy areas of your garden.
- Compact bag – simply add water to expand the soil
- Soil holds up to 50% more water than regular soil
- 100% organic formula provides essential nutrients for plants including worm casting and coconut coir
- Child and pet friendly
3. Sun Gro Black Gold Natural and Organic Soil
This organic soil has everything your raised bed will need to grow strong, fast, and produce larger yields.
The first thing you should know about this soil is it is a loamy mix that holds moisture and still drains well. This makes the compost soil suitable for many plant types and especially ideal for raised beds.
This soil is 100% organic and consists of screened earthworm castings, Canadian sphagnum peat moss, compost, and forest humus. Altogether they provide a highly nutritious diet for your plants, helping them to take root and develop strong foundations.
The mix is blended in perlite and pumice which increases aeration in the soil – an important feature that promotes helpful bacterial growth in your soil.
- Loamy mix improves moisture and drainage
- 100% organic formula provides essential nutrients for plants including worm casting, peat moss, compost, and forest humus
- Perlite and pumice improves aeration in the soil
4. FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix for Raised Beds
Bring your plants to life with this impressive soil mix specially designed by FoxFarm, which contains all the vital nutrients and minerals needed for optimal growth.
First, this garden soil is incredibly lightweight and well-aerated and is specially formulated to grow seedlings and cuttings in raised beds. It has a soil pH of 6.3 to 6.8, which allows for plants, especially seedlings, to absorb the fertilizer easily.
The soil mix contains many micro-nutrients to nourish plants and contains both earthworm castings and bat guano.
You can use this soil for new plants or add it to an already established raised bed. Simply put a 3-inch layer of soil around plants, carefully mix it into the soil, and water thoroughly.
- Lightweight, well-aerated soil
- Has a pH between 6.3 – 6.8 which is ideal for plants to absorb nutrients
- Contains micro-nutrients and is made of earthworm castings and bat guano
- Can be used on a new or established raised bed
5. Miracle-Gro Expand ‘n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix
Made of coir and fertilizer to deliver high nutrition to plants, this soil mix from Miracle-Gro promises to elevate your raised bed plants and provides them with all the essential minerals and nutrients they will ever need.
Expect your plants to grow 3 times bigger and faster with this soil versus unfed plants. So how is this possible, you might ask? This soil holds up to 50% more water and has improved drainage, which allows plants to absorb nutrients more effectively.
It also reduces the amount of time you’ll need to spend watering the plants. The soil mix has over 90% more air space, thanks to improved aeration from its ingredients. More air creates ideal conditions for useful bacteria and fungi to thrive, which in turn helps your plants’ root development.
Using this mixture in raised beds is simple:
- First, place the mixture in a large container. Wet it to make it expand. Wait 10 minutes.
- Next, pour the expanded mixture into your raised bed.
- Plant your vegetables/flowers and water them thoroughly. That’s it!
Finally, this mixture has everything you need to feed your plants for up to an impressive 6 months. Its simple application means that across that time, you’ll spend less time maintaining your plants and more time enjoying them!
- Contains coir and fertilizer for high nutrition
- Grows plants 3 times larger versus unfed plants
- Holds 50% more water and has improved drainage
- Has 90% more air space to improve aeration
- Its simple application makes it ideal for raised beds
6. FoxFarm’s Happy Frog Nutrient Rich Potting Soil Mix
Transform the plants in your raised beds with this highly nutritious soil mix from FoxFarm.
First of all, we’re very impressed with the high-quality ingredients used to create this soil mix, doubling its use as a highly-nutritious fertilizer.
The unique mix is packed full of beneficial soil microbes and mycorrhizal fungi which helps roots take hold and absorb nutrients. It also contains forest houmus which helps the soil retain more moisture.
The soil mix is pH adjusted to allow for maximum nutrient uptake. The mix is loamy, fluffy, and contains perlite for increased aeration.
The soil mix contains 12 quarts of soil and has everything you need to enhance your raised bed. Expect vigorous growth, stronger stems, and enhanced fruits and flowers from every one of your plants.
All that’s let to do is sit back, relax, and watch your plants grow faster and stronger than before!
- Adjusted pH creates optimal conditions for plants to absorb nutrients
- Includes a unique mix of beneficial soil microbes and mycorrhizal fungi for improved root development
- Forest humus improves soil moisture
- Perlite improves aeration
7. Espoma AP4 4-Quart Organic Potting Mix
This organic potting soil from Espoma has everything plants in your raised beds will need to grow to their potential.
Let’s talk about its impressive ingredients first. For example, this potting mix contains fortified earthworm castings, alfalfa meal, kelp meal, and feather meal to deliver a completely organic and nutritious boost for all your crop.
Peat moss and hummus are also included, which helps improve soil aeration and creates the perfect conditions for helpful bacteria to grow. And with added perlite, your soil will have improved moisture retention – meaning you won’t have to water plants as often!
We also love that the mixture contains useful fungi like myco-tone, which help promote strong root development and allows the plant to absorb more nutrients. This is an ideal soil to consider if you’re planning on using additional fertilizers for your plants!
- A host of nutritious, organic ingredients are included
- Includes myco-tone fungi for improved root development
8. Michigan Magic Top Soil for Raised Beds
Improving soil moisture and consistency, this soil from Michigan Magic can transform the look and feel of your raised bed, straight out of the bag.
First, let’s take a look at the ingredients of this soil mix. It uses a blend of dark reed sedge peat, which is high-end topsoil that has been screen and processed and contains essential nutrients that help bolster plants.
The mix also contains sand which can be effective in loosening heavy clay soils and improving moisture retention.
You can use this soil mix in a variety of ways, including to fill and repair holes in your raised bed. What’s also great is that it can be used straight out of the bag, with no mixing required!
- Includes highly nutritious reed sedge pea
- Sand also helps improve soil moisture retention
- No mixing required
9. Mother Earth Coco Plus Perlite Raised Bed Soil Mix
This soil mix from Mother Eart is a fantastic alternative to potting soil and allows gardeners to feed their plants without the fear of over-watering them.
Using this mix is very straightforward. Simply plant seeds directly in the mix, and let the nutritious feed do the rest.
You never need to about over-watering again, thanks to the high-quality ingredients, including 70% fine natural, and washed coco fiber. These fibers improve water retention in soil and promote better root structure.
This mix also contains 30% perlite, which improves soil aeration and helps create ideal conditions for helpful bacterial to grow in your soil. These bacteria help roots take hold and absorb nutrients more effectively.
Lastly, this mix comes highly compressed making it easy to store when not in use. Simply add water to expand the material!
- Coconut fibers and perlite helps improve drainage and aeration
- Never have to worry about over-watering plants
- A great organic alternative to potting soil
- Compacted on arrival, making it easy to store
10. Dr. Earth Gold Premium Potting Soil
This versatile potting soil from Dr. Earth contains everything your plants need to grow strong, resilient, and yield bigger fruits in your raised beds.
First, let’s talk about the nutritional makeup of this soil. It contains high-quality ingredients such as alfalfa meal, wild-caught fish bone meal, cold water kelp to bolster plants and improve their health and resilience.
These rich organic nutrients also help improve yield number and quality. Also include are peat moss and perlite, both of which help the soil to retain moisture.
The mixture is even more impressive when you consider it includes both ecto- and endo-mycorrhizae, which are essential fungi that help develop strong root systems in your plants.
Mycorrhizae also help your plant absorb nutrients quickly, which is useful if you are applying additional fertilizers to the soil.
As an organic mixture, this potting soil is both child and pet safe. It can also be used in a variety of ways, including on raised beds and bare roots, and on trees, shrubs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
- High-nutritious ingredients including alfalfa meal, fishbone meal, and cold water kelp
- Peat moss and perlite help improve moisture retention
- Ecto- and endo-mycorrhizae help root development
- Child and pet safe
What should you look for in the best soil for a raised bed?
One of the biggest appeals of a raised bed is being able to grow a mixture of different plants together.
And while every plant will need specific things to grow, they all share some common demands.
Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding on your raised bed soil:
Fertilizer – many of our recommended soil mix also double as fertilizers. They contain organic material which are high in nutrients, and which in turn feed your plants.
The results are plants which grow stronger and faster. Ingredients you should look out for include earthworm castings, coconut fibers, bat guano, kelp, and hummus.
Mycorrhizal fungi – many of our soil recommendations focus on promoting very important fungi called mycorrhiza.
Mycorrhizal fungi help your plant establish stronger roots, and in turn, allow those roots to absorb more nutrients. Stronger roots are an essential condition for a healthy plant.
This type of fungi is especially important to promote if you plan on using additional fertilizers on your raised bed.
Soil Consistency – when we talk about soil quality, we often talk about consistency and texture.
The best soils for raised beds allow for greater moisture retention and aeration which make soil finer and delicate. To promote these qualities, look for pumice, perlite, and coconut fibers in ingredients.
Watering your soil?
Whilst raise beds to give you the freedom to plant wherever you want, it also comes with some limitations, namely watering.
You must always ensure your plants have enough to drink, but not too much that they drown and the soil becomes too soggy.
Figuring out the type of soil you have will help in deciding how much water your plants may need. This is because some soils differ in how they react with water.
Some soils have improved water retention which is ideal for spending less time watering your plants. Other types of soil repel water and may require extra attention.
The three main types of soil we’ve recommended throughout the 10 products include:
- Loam soil helps retain water moisture whilst still having great drainage.
- Sandy soil has large particles and so retains less water and dries quickly.
- Clay soil has smaller particles and retains a lot of water, and dries slowly.
For the above reasons, it is often a good idea to consider something as useful as a drip irrigation system which can be tailored to watering your plants effectively and efficiently, without you needing to monitor water levels.
pH value? When in doubt, go neutral – pH is a very important value to consider when planning your raised bed. Some plants grow better in acidic conditions, whilst others prefer alkaline soils.
As a general rule of thumb, if you are unsure what type of pH to get for your raised bed, aim for a neutral value. This means you can always add an acidic or alkaline mixture to your soil to easily readjust its makeup.
Raised beds have unlimited potential. Gardeners can grow anything they want, from fruits and vegetables to flowers, shrubs, and small trees.
You have so many choices to make, and so much possibility!
But regardless of what you plant and where there is one thing you will always need to get right– you need the best soil for your raised bed.
As we’ve already discussed, the best soil gives new plants a great head-start at the start of a growing season. They establish healthy roots and grow big leafy foliage.
But you can equally introduce high-quality soil to established plants too, and provide them with a top-up of nutrients to bolster their strength.
Each of the products we’ve recommended excel in providing your plants with essential vitamins, minerals, and helpful fungi that help in every stage of their development.
The best soils will help also help regulate water absorption, drastically reducing the time you need to spend caring for plants.
When you do find the best soil for your raised garden, your plants will grow stronger, more vibrant, and yield better yields.
Now that is a choice worth making!