Raised bed gardens, containers and other types of elevated gardens do have a tendency to compact over time (just like in-ground gardens). If you are having difficulty in growing root crops or the edges of your garden start to look like the crisp edges of brownies (pulling away from the sides of the garden, cracks in the soil bed, etc.) you may have issues that need to be addressed. Solutions are many but we break it into three groups.
First, make sure you use the right soil – always default to soils for raised beds. Avoid soil that has a stated use for in-ground gardens. See our FAQ on soil for more information – but we recommend a high quality soil made specifically for raised bed gardens (usually a blend with potting soil).
Second, introduce organic matter initially and at the end of a growing season. Compost is the best (many ways to make compost) as is a mix of “green/brown matter”. Starting a compost system is easy and is also sustainable. Accompany this compost with a garden fork – this opens pathways into the soil without disturbing the microbiome and allows nutrients to penetrate the soil.
Third, you can introduce Perlite or large grain sand or other medium into the soil – this material helps keep the soil from compacting and helps move moisture through the soil to prevent moisture from acting as a compaction agent.
Have more questions? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help point you in the right direction! #GardenDifferent