Revitalize Raised Bed Soil

Revitalizing the soil in raised beds is our Plant Exchange Blog topic today. It’s mid-August and we’re glad that butterflies are becoming more abundant.


Our flowerbeds had three issues we wanted to address this spring. Garlic chives had overrun most, and part of another bed and the hoe or chemical was not enough to remove them.  Here are a couple of the chives that escaped renovation below the bed.


One of the beds had perennial coreopsis that had grown for three years and had a number of kinds weeds that were hard to remove. We decided to kill the plants and start over with that bed.

In general, the soil in the beds had become a bit compacted after about five years of supplemental watering. Though we had added compost each year and mixed the grass clippings into the soil, it wasn’t enough.

With a late and then lingering cool spring with extra moisture, perennials were late to emerge. We decided to use a modified “lasagna garden” technique to kill unwanted plants and start over with compost, organic fertilizer and layers of newspaper. Layers were in place over two months before planting the annuals. Because of the extra moisture, the method worked well by June when we planted seeds and plants. The flowering season is shortened this year, but the plants are growing well now and unwanted plants were killed by lack of sunlight.

This bed with perennial Joe Pye weeds and cone flowers and annual white snapdragons, lime 4 o’clocks, and purple nicotiana is growing the best.


Zinnias are now in bloom where weedy coreopsis grew before.


Rudbeckia perennials in their first year are growing now, with annual red salvia in full bloom.


The video shows you the beds as they look now.

This video doesn’t exist

It’s summer and we’re grateful for the chance to be outside with all that’s growing! See you next week.





2 thoughts on “Revitalize Raised Bed Soil

  1. I am getting to like the Joe Pye weed thing. I know it is not likely your favorite. It seems that most grow it just because it is so reliable. I just happen to find it intriguing because I have never seen it. At least, I do not thing that I have ever seen it. I may have harvested it in cut flower production in 1986, but I do not remember what that flower was.

    • For this region, Joe Pye weed requires a bit of extra moisture to thrive. It’s one of the choices for a rain garden. This plant grows to a height of about 6 feet in the season and mauve blooms attract pollinators. It’s a herbaceous perennial that I cut back in early spring or late fall, depending on its upright demeanor at the end of the season for winter interest in the snow.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s