Soil Uncertainty?

Dear Martin

Will soil from under a pine tree make a good filling for my raised bed...?

Many thanks for your recent enquiry concerning the soil under and around the pine tree and laurel bushes.   Although probably excellent in consistency, the soil is almost guaranteed to be highly acidic, and I’d definitely recommend you test the PH level before adding it to your raised beds. This is not a huge problem, as most vegetables prefer neutral (7.0 on the ph scale) or slightly acidic soils, and you can bring your soil into this range by adding garden lime – available from all good garden centres.   I’d be very wary of using this soil to entirely fill a raised bed however; if you’re starting from scratch, it’s always a good idea to fill the bed with a mix of well rotted compost and manure, and garden soil. If you are intending to plant the beds up almost immediately after filling, you must make sure any manure is rotted down as the fresh variety will release ammonia as it decomposes, and this can harm plants.  

There are no hard and fast rules for the ratio of top or garden soil to compost, but anything around 75:25 in favour of the soil should suffice.       

Hopefully this information is of some help and many thanks for your kind comments.