Raised garden beds can look beautiful and are a great option for those without ideal soil or who don’t want to be on their knees to garden.
However, these garden beds need to be deep to give the plants plenty of room, and that can be expensive to fill with soil — but one Instagrammer is suggesting an alternative.
Joshua Meekins (@the_garden_is_growing) is a Virginia farmer who posts about all things gardening, and one of his reels features the perfect recipe for filling your raised garden beds.
He suggests beginning with a layer of cardboard to stifle any weeds, followed by a layer of sticks and small logs. After that, Meekins suggested adding your leftover grass clippings and shredded leaves, followed by water.
His next two layers consisted of leftover compost and a layer of topsoil that he purchased, followed by another layer of homemade compost and topsoil again.
He mentions that regardless of your order, it’s important to have nitrogen-rich materials, like compost and grass clippings, and carbon-rich materials, like twigs. This will ensure that everything breaks down evenly in the soil.
“This is a very cost effective way to fill one of these types of beds” Meekins said, referring to his 17-inch raised garden bed.
How it’s helping
Although bags of topsoil only cost $3-5, Meekins mentions that some beds can get up to 32 inches high. Even if just one bag isn’t out of the budget, the cost will add up as you fill such a huge space.
Instead, this method has you buying maybe a bag or two of topsoil for the whole thing — the rest comes from nature.
Plus, it’s better for the planet to fill your raised garden beds this way. Topsoil typically comes in plastic packaging, and each American household produces an average of almost 300 million tons of plastic per year. Out of all of this plastic, only about 5% of it is recycled.
What everyone’s saying
Some commenters on the post were eager to test it out. “We will be giving this a try,” said one user.
Others spoke highly of the gardening tip — “I love this method! I’ve been using it for four years now,” said one user. Another added that they tried out the hack and were thrilled with the results, “[It resulted in] rich, dark, beautiful soil that didn’t dry out,” the commenter wrote, “This is the only way we’ll do it now.”
Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.