How deep does your soil actually need to be to grow healthy plants?
Don’t treat your soil like dirt! Experts say that a healthy amount of soil is the most important factor for harvesting high yields from your garden.
Planting in containers is often times the best option for growing a garden, especially if you live in an urban area with limited space (windowsill, balcony, or rooftop). Container gardens let you have more control over the soil quantity and quality.
3 Tips for determining optimal soil-depth of your container or garden bed:
1. Decide what you want to grow.
Certain plants need more soil than others, as their roots grow differently. Some are shallow, some are medium, and some are much deeper. Here is a quick guide on what some plants generally need:
2. As a general rule, if you're planting in raised beds double-dig or start with 2 feet of soil to cover your bases.
You may be planting in raised-bed boxes outside on your lawn, or maybe even digging up your lawn to plant right into the ground. Make sure the soil is loose at least 24" deep. That way, you can rotate your crops year after year, and have adequate depth for shallow-rooted plants, all the way to large-rooted plants.
If you are building a raised bed or an in-ground garden and have decent soil beneath, try the simple method of double digging. This is a productive way to really give your garden the up-front support it needs. To put in the work now, leaves you with a solid foundation for years of productive gardens and feasts to come.
3. With container gardening, get creative with achieving optimal soil depth!
For deeper-rooted plants, try using 5-gallon buckets. Stop by your local deli and ask if they have any extra pickle (food-safe) buckets. One tomato plant per bucket is perfect, and will give you a bounty of sweet fruit from your balcony.
3-gallon buckets are great for a collection of herbs. Cut your Herb Seedsheet to fit whatever size container you're using. For lettuces or other shallow-rooted plants (see above chart), plant in an container with at least a foot of soil-depth.
We recommend using organic potting mix in containers. Try Yelping your local hardware store, natural foods store, or even hit up Amazon Prime for delivery right to your garden. Keep in mind that soil is heavy—especially when wet—so if you are planning on moving the container at any point, start baking treats for your neighbors now, to get some extra hands later.
Grow-on, time to order your Seedsheet!