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Difference Between Potting Mix and Raised Bed Soil

Organic Potting Mix and Organic Raised Bed Soil are both beneficial for providing essential natural nutrients and minerals for enclosed planting areas. Potting Mix is formulated to feed the soil for plants growing in indoor and outdoor containers, while Raised Bed Soil with its slightly larger particle size, has versatile uses for both larger containers and raised bed gardening. Check out the various attributes and differences between Potting Mix and Raised Bed Soil.

Woman holding handful of soil

Potting Mix Attributes

When you plant in a container or pot, the soil environment is crucial to the plant’s ability to thrive. Potting Mix provides everything that a plant needs to grow in this isolated environment – moisture retention and nutrients.

Potting Mix Soil Composition and pH

Potting Mix contains the perfect texture of soil to maintain plant life in a pot or container. Its soil is well-balanced for proper moisture retention and drainage, which helps with effective air penetration through the plant root mass. Potting Mixes also provides plants with a balanced pH level to ensure plants thrive throughout the growing season.

Nutrients in Potting Mix

Organic Potting Mixes give your potted plants the nutrients it needs to grow, providing both short term and long term nutrient breakdown that continue to feed your plants for weeks at a time.

Kellogg Garden Organics

All Natural Potting Mix

**Product not available in AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT. For a comparable product in these states click here.

How to Use Potting Mix

  1. Cover the base of the pot or container with potting mix and press down firmly.
  2. Following directions on the bag, mix in the correct amount of organic granular fertilizer
  3. Loosen up the soil around plant roots with your fingers and place the top of the root ball approximately two inches from the rim of the container.
  4. Fill the remainder of the pot or container with potting mix and press down firmly to secure the plant.
  5. Water in well, adding a liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.
Man holding soil.

Attributes of Raised Bed Soil

Raised Bed Soil provides the quintessential soil recipe for raised bed gardening and has significant benefits to gardeners and the plants that they grow. Like potting mixes, Raised Bed Garden Soil is cultivated to be used on its own in a raised bed that sits on the soil or is wholly enclosed in a container. Its use provides the perfect opportunity to establish the most favorable environment for your plants. It can be used for both raised beds and large container gardening.

Raised Bed Soil Nutrients

Raised Bed Soil is the optimal choice for filling your raised garden beds, as it is bolstered with a hardy amount of organic nutrients such as poultry meal, kelp meal and worm castings that will help feed the soil your plants will grow in. Don’t get complacent though!

All organic gardens, including raised bed gardens, require additional organic fertilizer through the growing season.  Edibles, many of which are grown in raised beds, are heavy feeders and need nutrient replenishment with an organic granular fertilizer every 5-6 weeks. And like potting mixes, supplementing with an organic liquid fertilizer like Fish & Kelp every 2-3 weeks will yield the best results.

What is the pH of Raised Bed Soil?

A common question is, what is the pH of Raised Bed Soil? Raised Bed Soil takes the guesswork out of determining the soil quality because it is already pH balanced to be between 5.8 and 7.5, which is optimal for growing vegetables in a raised bed garden or flowers.

Well-Draining Raised Bed Soil

Raised Bed Soil is like a balance between garden soil and potting mix. It has the exceptional drainage necessary for container and raised bed gardening and it assists gardeners in maintaining loose soil which provides adequate airflow for necessary oxygen and nutrient delivery to root systems.

Vegetable box wall garden

Is Raised Bed Soil Ready to Use?

Many ask, is raised bed soil ready to use? Since it is already formulated to be used right out of the bag, gardeners don’t have to contend with adding soil amendments to get a raised garden started. However, many gardeners use Raised Bed Soil as the base mix and add their own compost and other soil amendments to create their own “recipe!” That’s part of the fun with gardening!

Adding Raised Bed Soil to Existing Soil

Ever wonder why the soil in your raised bed seems to “shrink” each season? Beneficial soil microbes consume the soil through the year which helps create plant-available nutrients your plants need to thrive. At the start of each season, spread a layer of Raised Bed Soil within 3-4 inches of the top of your raised bed. Then, mix it with the existing soil to a depth of four to six inches. Now is a good time to mix in that organic granular fertilizer!

Using Raised Bed Soil in Containers and Raised Beds

When using raised bed soil in containers and raised beds simply fill the raised bed or container with Raised Bed Soil to 3-4 inches below the top.

Using Raised Bed Soil in Containers

  1. Cover the base of the pot or container with Raised Bed Soil and press down firmly.
  2. Following directions on the package, add an organic granular fertilizer.
  3. Loosen up the plant roots with your fingers and place the top of the root ball approximately two- inches from the rim of the container.
  4. Fill the remainder of the pot or container with Raised Bed Soil and press down firmly to secure the plant.
  5. Water in well, adding a liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.

Using Raised Bed Soil in Raised Beds

  1. Add the Raised Bed Soil to the raised bed.
  2. Following directions on the package, add an organic granular fertilizer to each hole where you are going to place a plant.
  3. Loosen up the plant roots and place the plant into the soil mix so that the root ball is slightly above ground level.
  4. Water in well, adding a liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.

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14 Comments

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  1. Just bought a new electric tiller and 100 cu. ft. of Kellogg raised bed soil at Home Depot. Reworked two tiered beds after removing wasps loving shrubs.Added a third tier at bottom. Also built a big box further out in yard. And built two strawberry pyramids and a box for watermelons and cantaloupe. Used most all the raised bed mix by the time all was said and done. We love the mix! It is a very nice blend of materials ready to plant right out of the bag. Will keep you posted on how the garden does through the season. First attempt at big raised bed garden here. But again, love the bed mix!!

  2. I think it’s great that you point out that a potting mix is suitable to help the plant grow in pots. My husband just started buying some plants and he was planning to plant them in pots. We were both new to gardening so we weren’t sure as to what were the types of soil we should buy for our new plants. Now, I know that we should be buying potting mixes for our plants for better nutrients and growth.

  3. This is our first raised bed garden. Used appropriate soil and plants are looking great. Have more male flowers than female, on squash right now, but anticipate a good yield. Planted 3 weeks ago and used liquid fertilizer for the first time today. We’ve not been gardeners in years past, but, if this garden is successful will have a garden every year.

    • Hi Judy! That is wonderful. Squash plants tend to produce more male flowers than female, but you can remove the excess male blooms so the plants can focus on fruit development. Squash blossoms are edible so you can enjoy them on the dinner table too. If you are on Facebook check out this group https://www.facebook.com/groups/organicgardennation/ you can connect with other gardeners to share your successes and ask for advice when needed.

  4. Thank you so much for this information on Raise bed gardening. This is my first time using a raise bed for gardening. Now that I know exactly what and how to do it I am really feeling more confident and less stress about doing it. Thank you so much, this is what I need to know.

    • Hi Yeny, many opt to amend their raised beds in the fall once their season has ended. The best organic matter to amend your soil with is compost, either your own or bagged, but other great options are leaves, wood chips, grass clippings, straw, earthworm castings, and composted animal manure such as chicken, cow, horse, or sheep. Whatever amendment you choose, it’s important to work it into the existing soil. If you are laying it on top then about a 1/2 inch worth, if you are mixing it in then about 1 or 2 inches or 25-30% of your mix. If compaction has occurred you may also want to add more soil to your beds in order to maintain your ideal soil depth. For more information and tips on amending your raised beds check out this article, https://www.kellogggarden.com/blog/soil/amend-soil/. Happy gardening!

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