soil for raised garden bed???

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One thing I do when I plant tomatoes is take a long 4' stick of 3/8" rebar and shove it down in the planting hole as far as I can...I even use a 2# mall...
This will give the tomato roots a cavity to send down a very deep tap root.

I'm a tomato fanatic. Last year I avg. 25# per celebrity tomatoes. Had one that went 24 ounces.....
Sounds like you have a plan. I built 5 elevated beds, 4’x8’, with various depths based on the terrain i built them in. My deepest is 12”. I ordered and had top soil delivered. Every year since then, i go buy a few bags of either compost, mushroom soil, or manure, and add it to each box. Normally 2-4 bags per box. This was to replace nutrients, and improve tilth. That first year, the soil was so hard at the end of the season, i had to literally chisel potatoes out. I also add organic waste from spring through fall, and cover with leaves each fall, and till them under in the spring.
raised beds benefit from the inclusion of sand in the mix to break it up, help with drainage, and make it lite. Can also add peat moss or coconut coir, but my personal favorite is biochar....10% in the top 6~8" of soil in the bed. worms will mix it, they love biochar dust for grit in their gizzards, and once through the gut of a worm the stuff is transformed like magic....
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Here is a picture of one of my raised beds. Its about 3 feet off the ground. Bed is 8 feet long, 2 feet wide and 16 inches deep. I have two of these I put in last year, going to do another one this year.
My Daughter and her Husband have this plan to build 12" deep beds on Legsome to limit bending. But I think plants like Tomatoes and Peppers have roots that go deeper than 12". You guys think their idea will work?...JJ
My Daughter and her Husband have this plan to build 12" deep beds on Legsome to limit bending. But I think plants like Tomatoes and Peppers have roots that go deeper than 12". You guys think their idea will work?...JJ
If the soil is super fertile, the plants will thrive in 12" of soil. Best recommendation I can give is to plant the seedling horizontally....more roots = more fruits....
I plant up to the 2nd. set of true leaves, just snip off the lower ones. Tomato is a vine and the stem has hairs; every hair will put out a root....
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I love using raised beds. Just some food for thought...I line my bed with plain cardboard before I fill with a mix of soil, compost, and unbroken-down straw/leaves. The cardboard suppresses weeds without tilling and will safely break down over time. I use any cardboard that doesn’t use glossy print.
Good luck and be sure to post some pics of those beds in use!

Yesterday I went up into the mountain and got some of the humus that I said I was going to and think is what I ended up with! Which I didn't think I did too bad for moving it all by hand( loading and unloading). I also went over where we cut up fire wood and scraped up some of the chips and saw dust and added it to the mix. I probably could have got more of the humus that was from the leaves gathering in the trails and breaking down but there was roots growing all through it which I didn't want to bother too much so I just scraped the lose stuff up. I calculated that for each 4 x 8 x 12in deep I need roughly 1.2 cubic yards of material so I guess I moved about 1 cubic yard just here... Like I said I'm probably going to wait closer to growing season to fill the rest which I'll find some place close that sells compost I can use to mix up some "super soil" lol

Thanks for all the great information and suggestions... hope others can come to this for future reference for help!
If your bed is in contact with the soil, and open on the bottom, consider putting down a mesh instead of, or in addition to the plastic. I don't know how bad the ground rodents are in PA, but here on the Central Coast of CA we have moles, gophers, and the latest invasion, ground squirrels. I know lots of people who have plenty of land and good soil who nonetheless installed raised garden beds as a way to keep these critters from entering from below. I don't have a raised bed garden, and as a result have had lots of plants destroyed from below, although I never saw the plant actually get pulled down out of sight, like in Caddyshack.

KILLS THE CRAWFISH!?!? That has to be Illegal or somethin'. Ain't CRAWFISH the State Bird on Louisianna? Some little Cajun Boy goin' to bed Hungry 'cause you don't like no Holes in Y'all's garden!...JJ
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