How Do You Fill A Raised Garden Bed With A Layer?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:47 pm

When filling a raised bed, the most important thing is the arrangement of the various layers of wood scraps, leaves, compost and soil. To help you successfully harvest vegetables and fresh herbs from your own bed, we give you tips.

Hochbeet befüllen

If you want to build a raised bed, the first thing you have to do is choose the right location in your own garden, the right size and the right material. The advantage of wood as a building material is that it is visually appealing and can be easily processed. However, raised beds made of stone can also look very natural and are usually more durable than models made of untreated wood. Once these decisions are made and the raised bed is ready, you should follow certain rules for filling the raised bed, which will significantly affect the success of the harvest. By the way, the best time for building and filling is spring or autumn, when a lot of compost accumulates.

Hochbeet aus Holz

Instructions: Fill raised bed correctly

How Do You Fill A Raised Garden Bed With A Layer?

To ensure that your lettuces, cucumbers, herbs or winter vegetables have enough nutrients to grow successfully, proper layering is key when filling the raised bed. Filling the entire raised bed with only commercial soil is not a good idea. Thus, the filling material must become finer and finer towards the top. However, before you fill in the individual layers, you should line the bottom and the inside of your raised bed with mouse or rabbit wire (about 30 centimeters high). This is because voles are usually after your vegetables and can become uninvited guests in the raised bed.

See also  How Many Vegetables Should You Grow Yourself To Save Money?
Hochbeet Querschnitt

The four layers in the raised bed

In total, a raised bed consists of four layers, each of which should be between 5 and 25 centimeters high. The bottom layer consists mainly of branches, twigs and other plant debris as well as shrub or tree trimmings. The garden waste ensures that the upper layers are well aerated.

The next layer is inverted sod. If you do not have such at hand, you can also resort to grass clippings, straw or unprinted cardboard. After you have firmly pressed this layer, rotted manure or manure is mixed with semi-mature compost and poured in. On top of it you can still spread some topsoil mixed with compost. Only at the end spread high quality soil on it, which is improved with mature compost on top. Now the actual planting can take place.

Tip: Waterlogging causes the roots of plants in the bed to rot. It is therefore all the more important to integrate drainage so that excess water can run off.

Overview of the individual layers

LayerLayer heightMaterial
Layer near the groundabout 25 centimetersBranches, twigs, leaves, shrub trimmings, rhizomes,
Garden waste
Chaff layerabout 20 centimeterssod, thin branches, cardboard, straw, grass clippings
Manure and coarse compostabout 15 centimeterssemi-mature compost and manure
Garden soilfill to the brim high quality garden soil and mature compost

Why is the raised bed filled with several layers?

When you fill your raised bed in this way, the various organic materials of the individual layers start a process of humus formation, which provides the bed with nutrients for several years. In addition, the layering creates so-called rotting heat, which on the one hand enables the use of the raised bed as a cold frame, and on the other hand promotes vigorous growth, so that up to three times higher yields can be achieved.

See also  Can I Use Compost Instead of Potting Soil?

However, the natural rotting process decreases the volume of the individual layers, so you should add some garden soil and compost every spring. After five to seven years, the organic materials will have rotted to the point where the nutrient content is exhausted and the raised bed should be re-seeded.

Is it possible to buy filling material?

If you want to fill your raised bed outside the pruning season, you can also buy the soil and the rest of the material. For example, in stores there are coordinated raised bed base filling, raised bed compost and raised bed soil.

How often do you have to renew the purchased planting soil in the raised bed?

If you fill your raised bed with ready-made soil, you have the advantage that the filling does not collapse over time as the organic material does due to natural rotting. In this case, it is sufficient to dig up the soil well in the first few years before planting a new bed and to add some compost if the bed is not high enough.

What plants are suitable for the raised bed?

Basically, plants that do not require much space and prefer a loose, humus-rich soil with plenty of warmth are suitable. If you also plan correctly, you can use your raised bed all year round and also plant vegetables such as cabbage or lettuce in autumn and winter.

Plant sequence in the raised bed

If you want to plant your raised bed with vegetables, the most important thing is a suitable mixed culture. Basically, we distinguish between high-yielding, medium-yielding and low-yielding varieties. In the first year after filling the raised bed, mainly high-yielding vegetables such as red cabbage, white cabbage, savoy cabbage or potatoes should be planted, because at the beginning there is still a nutrient surplus in the soil.

See also  What To Do If Cucumber Plants Main Shoot Gets Broken?

In the next few years, be careful not to plant vegetables from the same plant family in the same place and prefer not to grow plants with the same nutrient requirements together. So find out beforehand which vegetable species are in competition with each other and which harmonize well with each other.

Ornamental plants in the raised bed

Cultivate flowers and ornamental plants in the raised bed is a little easier. Here you can do without the complex coating. Just make sure that there is an air-permeable layer on the bottom and fill the raised bed with potting soil and compost. Also in this case, you should refill the raised bed after 5 to 7 years. In this one, we’ll show you what to look for when choosing: The 10 best plants for raised beds.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *