10 Best Soils for Raised Garden Beds in 2023: Reviews & Top Picks
There’s something about growing your own food in a raised-bed garden that makes it extra special. But while it’s a fun and rewarding process, getting the results that you want starts with using the right soil.
The right soil can turn meager yields into great ones, and the wrong soil can kill off your plants before you even start.
That’s why we developed this list of reviews of the 10 best options out there. There’s also a comprehensive buyer’s guide that will walk you through everything that you need to know when you’re picking out soil for your raised-bed garden!
A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Raised Bed Mix||
|Best Value||Miracle-Gro Potting Mix||
|Premium Choice||Organic Plant Magic Compressed Organic Soil||
|Espoma Company Organic Vegetable and Flower Soil||
|FoxFarm FX14047 Potting Soil||
The 10 Best Soils for Raised Garden Beds
1. Miracle-Gro Performance for Raised Bed Mix — Best Overall
|Size:||1.3 cubic feet|
|Primary blend:||Compost from forest products, peat, and sphagnum peat moss|
If you’re looking for the best overall soil for raised garden beds, it’s hard to top the Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Raised Bed Mix. It’s an organic upgrade from its typical garden soil, and this mixture is specifically for raised beds.
Even better, while it’s an upgraded formula and a great choice, you don’t have to spend much money to get it.
The only complaint is that it only comes in bags up to 1.3 cubic feet. While that’s not necessarily “small,” many other bags come in as much as 2 cubic feet.
2. Miracle-Gro Potting Mix for Raised Garden Beds — Best Value
|Size:||1 or 2 cubic feet|
|Primary blend:||Processed forest product, sphagnum peat moss, and perlite|
Miracle-Gro makes high-quality soil and is one of the largest garden soil manufacturers in the country. This means you know exactly what you’re getting each time, and with Miracle-Gro Potting mix, that’s a high-quality soil that you can use for many different applications. It comes with enough fertilizer to feed plants for 6 months, which covers most growing seasons.
This soil works for both indoor and outdoor plants, and the best part is the price. It’s extremely affordable, and you can buy it 2 cubic feet at a time. But it’s not organic and it’s not a raised-bed-specific formula.
At this price point and with everything that it offers, though, it’s easily the best soil for raised garden beds for the money.
3. Organic Plant Magic Compressed Organic Soil — Premium Choice
|Brand:||Organic Plant Magic|
|Primary blend:||Coconut coir, worm castings, and fertilizer|
If you just want the best of the best, it’s hard to top the Organic Plant Magic Compressed Organic Soil. As the name implies, it’s organic, which makes it an outstanding choice for raised garden beds.
It’s also easy to use and extremely versatile, so you can easily use this soil for just about anything. It does a great job nourishing plants and giving them all the nutrients that they need so you can have a great harvest.
However, there’s no overlooking both the price and the size of this container. While it expands with water, you’re still not getting near as much as the other options on this list. You’re also spending more, which means you’ll need to pay quite a bit of money for large raised garden beds.
It’s great soil, but due to the price and the size, we only recommend this option for small projects and areas.
4. Espoma Company Organic Vegetable and Flower Soil
|Size:||2 cubic feet|
|Primary blend:||Sphagnum peat moss, limestone, and earthworm castings|
If you have a large raised garden bed and want organic soil, this might be the perfect choice for you. Each time you order, you get two 1-cubic-foot bags of Espoma Company Organic Vegetable and Flower Soil, which means you don’t need to order that much.
As an organic soil, it’s a great value, as well as extremely effective and easy to use. It’s a ready-to-use soil, so all you need to do is open it up and pour it into the garden bed.
But while it’s great that you get two bags every time you order, if you don’t need that much soil, you’re overpaying to get more soil than you need. We wish that there were an option to order just one bag at a time. That said, by ordering two at a time, you’re at least getting a great deal per bag.
5. FoxFarm FX14047 Potting Soil for Raised Garden Beds
|Size:||2 cubic feet|
|Primary blend:||Composted forest humus, sphagnum peat moss, and perlite|
FoxFarm creates some of the best soils on the market today, and its FoxFarm FX14047 Potting Soil is no exception. It’s an extremely effective pH-optimized formula that you can simply pour into your garden to get started.
But while there’s no doubt that this soil is extremely effective, it’s not a raised bed-specific option; it’s actually best suited for container plants. It’ll work for a raised bed garden, but you won’t get the best results that this soil can give.
Moreover, this is expensive, which means you’re paying more and not getting the best possible results by using it. You could do far worse than this FoxFarm soil, but you can do just as well with one of the other soil options on this list without spending as much.
6. Whitney Farms Organic Raised Bed Soil
|Size:||1.5 cubic feet|
Peat, processed forest products and compost, and sphagnum peat moss or coir
Whitney Farms Organic Raised Bed Soil is a great organic product that you can use for your raised garden bed. It’s extremely easy to use because it comes ready to use, and it’s a raised bed-specific formula, so you know that you’re using it for its ideal purpose.
It’s extremely effective and does a great job, but it’s a bit expensive, especially since you’re only getting 1.5 cubic feet of soil. Since most other options at this price point come with 2 cubic feet of soil, you’re spending far more for what you’re getting.
Still, if you have the money, you’ll love the results that you get with Whitney Farms Organic Raised Bed Soil.
7. Black Gold Natural Organic Raised Bed and Potting Mix
|Size:||1.5 cubic feet|
|Primary blend:||Bark, Canadian sphagnum peat moss, and compost|
Black Gold tells you just about everything that you need to know right in the name. This soil is all about maximizing your garden’s yield, and it does a great job of it. It’s extremely versatile too, so while it works great in raised bed gardens, there’s no reason that you can’t use it in other areas too.
The soil itself is organic and ready to use right out of the bag. However, while “gold” is in the name to highlight the yield that it gives, it also hints nicely at the price.
Black Gold Natural Organic Raised Bed and Potting Mix is expensive, and you’re “only” getting 1.5 cubic feet per bag, compared to the 2 cubic-feet options of most other brands, so you’re going to need even more bags.
8. New Coast of Maine Organic Raised Bed Mix
|Brand:||Coast of Maine|
|Size:||1 cubic foot|
|Primary blend:||Compost, peat, and biochar|
New Coast of Maine isn’t one of the largest soil brands out there, but it does quite a few things right. This is an organic raised bed soil that’s ready to use right out of the bag, and it’s available for a decent price.
However, it only comes in a 1-cubic-foot bag, so expect that you’ll need a few more bags to fill your garden compared to some other choices out there.
Also, it simply isn’t as effective as many other options. It has a strong smell, so it’s not something that you’ll want to use inside. It’s fine for a raised bed outdoors, though.
9. FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix for Raised Garden Beds
|Size:||0.5 cubic feet|
Composted forest humus, sphagnum peat moss, sea-going fish emulsion
When you’re looking at FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix, it’s a hard split. On one hand, you’re not going to find a more effective soil. If you’re looking for the best of the best no matter what, this is it. It’s extremely versatile and highly effective, and all you need to do is pour it right out of the bag into your raised-bed garden.
On the other hand, it’s easily the most expensive option on this list. While it might not look like it, each bag only comes with 1/2 a cubic foot of soil. You’ll need up to four times as many bags of this soil as most other options. It’ll do a fantastic job, but you’ll spend a great deal of money to get enough soil for a large raised-bed garden.
10. Michigan Peat 5540 Magic Topsoil for Raised Garden Beds
|Size:||0.75 cubic feet|
|Primary blend:||Peat and sand|
It’s important to note that Michigan Peat 5540 Garden Magic Topsoil works best either exclusively as a topsoil or mixed in with another garden soil.
It simply doesn’t come with everything that you want in a raised-bed garden soil, though it doesn’t pretend that it does. But if you’re thinking of getting this topsoil to save yourself money on garden soil, you should think again.
This topsoil is a little expensive, but it does create a great mixture for your garden. Still, there are no real cost savings, and it’s a bit more work to use.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Soil for Raised Garden Beds
With so many great options on this list, it can be hard to narrow it down to just one for your raised bed garden. This guide will walk you through everything that you need to know before you place an order!
How Much Soil Do You Need?
The last thing that you want to do when getting soil for a raised bed garden is to either spend more than you have to and order too much or not spend enough and not get all the soil that you need.
People measure how much soil they need in cubic feet, which is the measurement that brands put on their soil labels, so you need to figure out how many cubic feet your garden is. If you need help, try using a soil calculator1 ! Simply pick the shape of your garden, put in the dimensions, and it’ll tell you exactly how many cubic feet of soil you need.
Organic vs. Non-Organic
There’s no right or wrong answer here, but many people growing their own food in a raised-bed garden prefer to use organic products. This means there should be fewer chemicals, fertilizers, and other prohibited substances coming near your food. But if you plan on fertilizing with a non-organic option, anyway, you might as well save money on the soil too.
Again, there’s no wrong choice here; you just have to prioritize how much you care about organic food and decide if you’re willing to pay more for it.
Fertilizing the Soil
While the soils on this list are all great, they only provide enough food for plants in your raised-bed garden to grow without problems for one season.
That doesn’t mean you need to drain out the soil and start all over again next year, though. Instead, we recommend planting a cover crop for the winter and then getting an excellent soil fertilizer for the next season. This will help you get the best possible results, and you won’t need to spend so much money on new soil next year!
If you’re still trying to figure out what soil to get after reading through the reviews and buyer’s guide, just know that there’s a reason that the Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Raised Bed Mix is our top choice.
But if that’s more than you want to spend and you don’t care about using an organic soil, Miracle-Gro’s Potting soil mix is a great budget choice.
What’s important is that you order the soil soon so you can get everything ready before it’s time to put your plants in the ground.
Featured Image Credit: Linda George, Shutterstock