The best soil for strawberries grown in raised garden bed is a mix of raised garden mix, aged cow or chicken manure and compost. Layer the bottom of the raised bed with geofabric to keep the contents in the bed. Layer 3-4 inches of river sand to increase drainage and then layer a mix of raised bed mix, aged manures and compost.
This mix is perfect for growing strawberries in a raised bed. The raised garden mixes contain a higher proportion of sand to prevent the level from dropping as quickly as regular potting soil. Mixing through aged manures helps to increase the nutrient content and water holding capacity of the soil.
This light, airy mix is perfect for growing strawberries in a raised bed. Plan them near the edges of the bed so the strawberries can hang over the side of the bed away from insects.
I have filled one of my raised garden beds with strawberries which are producing well over summer. This article will explore all you need to know about the best soil mix for strawberries.
How to fill a raised garden bed to grow strawberries
There are a few easy steps to filling a new raised garden bed ready to grow strawberries. These are easy steps that will set your bed up for success.
1. Layer geofabric on the base
Before filling the garden bed, line the base with geofabric. You can also line the sides if you like but if you are using a natural timber bed then this is unnecessary. Laying geofabric on the base will help to keep the soil mix in the raised bed preventing it from washing out.
Geofabric can be purchased in long rolls from garden centers or hardware stores. Grab a stapler while you are there to attach the fabric to the sides of the raised bed. This makes it a quick, 10 minute job.
2. Layer old rocks, bricks or pavers
Layer old rocks, bricks or pavers in the base of the garden bed to help to fill it up. You can also layer logs if you have them and these will break down slowly over time. For mine, I have used some old pavers which helps to lift the base up ½ a foot.
If you have a shallow raise garden bed then you can skip this step and move onto step 3.
Make sure the soil depth is at least 18 inches above the brick layer. This will give your strawberry plants enough room to grow deep roots.
3. Cover the base with coarse river sand
After adding the bricks or pavers, add a layer of coarse river sand. This sand will have large particles which will allow good drainage but will not flow out too quickly to dry the soil mix out. Coarse river sand can be purchased in bags or in larger amounts from landscape supply stores.
4. Fill the bed with raised garden mix
The next step is to fill the garden bed up with raised garden mix leaving a 2 inch gap at the top. Raised garden mix will contain organic matter and sand which will help to hold the structure of the soil. This means that it will not drop in level as quickly as regular potting mix.
You can use a general potting mix to fill your bed but it is important to top up the level every 6-12 months. You may need to add another bag of potting mix each year to keep the level to close to 1-2 inches from the top of the bed.
To work out how much soil you will need for your raised garden bed, check out my calculators below. Click on the buttons to jump to my calculators.
5. Mix through aged cow manure
The next step is to mix through some aged cow manure. I like to buy this in bags because it is easy to carry and already composted. Mix this through the surface of the soil to add extra nutrients and organic matter. I like to add 2 bags of aged manure to a bed that is 6 feet long.
6. Mix through compost
The next step is to mix through a wheelbarrow full or bag of compost. If you have homemade compost this is best. Gently stir it through the surface of the soil, around 1 foot deep with a garden fork.
7. Leave the mix to rest for 2-4 weeks
Before planting your new strawberry seedlings or runners let the mix rest for 2-4 weeks if you can. This will allow the ingredients to incorporate, start to break down and settle. Cover the mix with straw mulch to keep the moisture in and water it a small amount with your hose to settle it in.
8. Plant your new strawberries
Plant strawberries in spring or fall. Planting strawberries in fall will give them the opportunity to settle in before the spring where they will grow lots of flowers and fruit. They will often send out runners in fall which can be transplanted in spring to grow new plants for free.
Feed the strawberries with pelleted chicken manure 4 weeks after planting to give them an extra nutrient boost and help them to establish a healthy root system.
Best Soil for Strawberries in Raised Beds | Summary
The best soil for strawberries in raised beds is a mix of raised bed soil, compost and aged cow manure. Layer the bottom of raised beds with geofabric to help to keep the contents in. Layer the bottom with coarse river sand then top this with raised garden mix.
This can be bought in bags or from landscape suppliers. Mix through compost and aged cow manure in the top foot to feed the plants.