Whether it is a series of raised bed gardens.
or a collection of pots on your patio, container gardens are perfect for growing flowers, vegetables and herbs.
But how much soil do you need for your container? No one wants to make repeated trips to the nursery or pay for soil you won’t use. If it’s a large container, like a raised bed garden, it is more economical to buy your soil by the scoop, rather than bagged. So, how do you decide how much you need?
Bagged soil comes in measurements of cubic feet and is perfect for small containers. When calculating how many cubic feet you need for your container, be sure and check how much is in the bag you are purchasing. It is usually 1, 1.5 or 2 cubic feet.
Bulk planting mix is purchased from a local nursery or soil yard. It is much more economical for large raised bed gardens or if you want to fill a LOT of pots. A planting mix usually contains a mixture of top soil, compost, and an additive to promote drainage. This mix has sand. You don’t want to just get a scoop of topsoil. Be sure and call ahead and ask if they have bulk “planting mix”.
When you go to the nursery you will ask for a “scoop” of the planting mix. It is sold by the yard. One scoop equals around 1.25 yards or 27 cubic feet.
So, how do you know how much to buy? Go to www.soilcalculator.com
If you go to raised bed tab, enter the length, width, and depth. This is what I get when I put in the dimensions of my 6×4 18 inch Raised bed.
I will need 36 cubic feet of soil or 1.33 cubic yards A standard scoop of soil at the nursery is 1.25 cubic yards so I need a little over 1 scoop. My options were to get a scoop and a couple of bags. I purchased two scoops because I had a smaller 6x4x12 inch bed to fill. The cost was $56.00 for two scoops.
If I chose to buy it in the bags I would need for that one 4x6x18inch bed:
48 bags if the bag held .75 cubic feet of soil
36 bags if the bag held 1.0 cubic feet of soil
24 bags if the bag held 1.5 cubic feet of soil
18 bags if the bag held 2 cubic feet of soil
As you can see the above bags of the same planting mix I purchased in bulk hold 1 cubic feet of soil. The cost was $7.99 per bag. 36 bags x $7.99 equals $287.64 plus tax versus $56.00 for two scoops. The bed of a standard size truck hold 2 scoops. We put ours on a trailer and covered with a tarp. Even if you had to rent a truck from Home Depot it would be less expensive than buying bags.
Potting Containers such as Terra Cotta Pots.
If you have a pot you are using, you can still use the same calculator just go to “potting containers” and you will put choose Potting Soil Container in the drop down menu and enter the depth and diameter.
It will give you soil needs in cubic feet, quarts and cubic yards. (Cubic yards will usually be 0 for pots).
I hope this helps and saves you both time and money when you are filling your containers.
Do you need a little help in planning your raised bed garden or would just like to have some questions answered? I offer virtual consults in 30 minute increments at www.Gardenchickcoaching.com
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