Soil Mixture For Square Foot Gardening: Getting Started!

Choosing the best soil mixture for square foot gardening is the first step you need to take to ensure success. Without the right soil, your plants will die.

There are different soil mixes you can use for your square foot garden. If the first one you choose doesn’t work for you, simply try another.

In this article, I share three of my favorite soil mixtures and some tips to help you along the way!

The Best Soil Mixture For Square Foot Gardening

There are some classic soil mixes used for gardening in raised beds. If you create a square-foot garden, your best route is to make raised beds and fill them with the right soil mixture.

Mel’s Mix

Mel created a classic soil mixture recipe that many square foot gardeners use. 

The mix includes:

  • ⅓ compost
  • ⅓ peat moss
  • ⅓ vermiculite

The secret ingredient in this mix is the compost. You should use as many compost sources as possible. Without a variety of compost, your mix will likely fail.

You can use compost from landscaping companies, kitchen scraps, animal manure, and worm castings. 

This recipe from Mel will create fluffy soil that’s easy to plant in. It has excellent drainage to keep your crops healthy from the start!

Topsoil Mix

A topsoil mix contains about 50% topsoil and 50% organic matter.

The organic matter can be from different sources, including animal manure, homemade compost, and landscaping waste.

When purchasing topsoil, ensure that it doesn’t contain too much clay. If it does, your soil will harden once it’s wet.

Bagged Soil

You can also purchase different bagged soil mixtures for your square foot garden.

Here’s a suggested ratio:

You can add worm casting or some animal manure to the mixture to make it even better!

 What is the best way to prepare soil for a vegetable garden

Tips For Square Foot Gardening Beginners

If you’re new to square foot gardening, it can all seem a little overwhelming. There are some things you need to keep in mind that isn’t that much of a headache when you’re planting in bigger spaces. 

Here are a few tips to help you create a more efficient square foot garden!

Start Small

A square foot garden is already compact, but you need to start small until you have the hang of it. Doing this will help you understand square foot gardening better and allow you to experiment with different planting styles and soil before committing to more raised beds.

Use A Grid

Planning and planting with a grid will help you create a square foot garden that’s more organized and efficient. 

You can place permanent grids in your garden beds or use a removable one.

Plan Before Your Plant

Before starting planting, you should familiarize yourself with plant spacing guidelines and companion plants. 

Square foot gardens fill quickly, and without proper planning, you’ll run out of space before you know it!

Experiment With Soil

Each soil mix works differently depending on your area and which plants you prefer to grow. 

If the soil you choose doesn’t seem to work, you can restart with a new mix. 

Once you start growing your square foot garden, you can even use different soil mixes in different square groups.

Find The Best Spot

While planning what to plant in your square foot garden, you should pick a great spot to build your garden.

The best way to do this is by watching how the sun moves across your yard for several days. You should pick an area that gets at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily. 

Learn more about The 5 Best Fertilizers For Vegetable Container Gardening

What Happens When You Choose The Wrong Planting Soil

Choosing the right soil for your square foot garden is crucial for its success.

Soil plays many essential roles in the growing process. In short, here they are: 

  • Soil feeds your plants. It contains all the nutrients your plant will need to boost its growth.
  • The effectiveness of water drainage depends on the soil you choose. Without the right soil, you’ll experience drainage issues, and your plants will die.
  • It offers root support. Roots should penetrate soil that can hold them in place and feed them the nutrients they need to grow. 
  • Soil can attract or keep pesticides away. With the right mixture and pH balance, many common insects that eat plants will scurry the other way.

Final Words

Choosing the right soil for your square food garden shouldn’t be a hasty decision. You should consider environmental factors in your area and the needs of each crop you want to grow.

If you start small, you can change your soil with little cost involved when you see that it’s not working. This is why planting one square foot at a time is recommended when you’re starting your compact garden. 

I hope this article sheds some (sun)light on the different types of soil mixtures that are most commonly used for square foot gardening. If you have any more questions about what would work best for you, ask them in the comments!

What is Mel's Mix for square foot gardening?

Mel's Mix is a growing medium for plants that's perfectly balanced to create a winning combination that will help your plants thrive! It's pH neutral, has the right nutrients, and drains your plants enough without drying them out.

What is the best way to prepare soil for a vegetable garden?

The best way to prepare soil for a vegetable garden is by adding organic matter to it. You can create this organic compost from clippings, hay, kitchen scraps, or leaves.

What is the difference between garden soil and topsoil?

Garden soil is packed with compost and organic matter to improve plant growth, while topsoil is stripped from its top layer of soil when used in construction projects.

What is a good soil mix for vegetables?

A good soil mix for vegetable gardening will include compost and have a pH balance between 6 and 7.

Read more about The Best Vegetables For Square Foot Gardening