How To Calculate Cubic Feet For Your Garden Like A Pro

Before you start

Soil calculation is a basic step to start a new garden from scratch, especially when you are looking to place a couple of raised garden beds in your garden. For a lot of new gardeners, soil calculation can be a big challenge that disheartens even the most enthusiastic gardener.

Calculating the soil you need for your raised garden bed is crucial to keeping your flowers or vegetables alive and healthy. It doesn’t require exceptional math skills to finish the task, and once you get to learn soil calculation in cubic feet, you’d be surprised to see that raised bed gardening can be incredibly easy.

Why do you need a raised garden bed?

A mixed garden box (Photo credit: best4garden- wood products via Foter.com / CC BY-SA)

To learn why a raised garden bed is recommended for your garden, let’s first look at what a raised garden bed is and its benefits.

What is a raised garden bed?

A raised garden bed, or sometimes called garden box, is a great solution to your garden, particularly when you do not have sufficient high-quality soil to grow flowers or vegetables. A raised garden bed is intrinsically a planting plot similar to a box or a mini raised garden where you can grow what your heart desires.

Of course, you can choose to improve the condition of your soil instead of investing in a raised garden bed, and there are a few options available for that, but investing in raised garden beds can be remarkably beneficial. And to do that you will need to learn how to calculate the soil you need in cubic feet.

Benefits of a raised garden bed

One of the outstanding benefits of having a raised garden bed is better aeration and drainage. Raised beds allow the roots to spread and absorb more concentrated nutrients. Your plants won’t have to compete with other plants in your whole garden for nutrients anymore.

Other benefits of raised garden beds that are worth considering include easier pest control, soil compaction prevention and eliminating pathway weeds on your garden soil. With raised garden beds, you won’t have to worry about how to get rid of unwanted snails and slugs, which can be a big relief.

What are cubic feet and how to calculate them?

Raised garden beds ready to grow (Photo credit: BrotherMagneto via Foter.com / CC BY-NC)

The benefits of a raised garden bed bring us to the topic of our post today, which is all about cubic feet and how to calculate them for your garden. Quite a few gardeners, particularly amateur ones, shy away from the idea of calculating cubic feet for their garden.

In fact, calculating cubic feet is nothing more than straightforward math, which is incredibly useful in preparing to grow raised garden beds. You will need to estimate the soil you’ll need for the bed, and the common measurement unit for the volume of soil is none other than cubic feet.

What are cubic feet?

A cubic foot, which becomes cubic feet in its plural form, is a measurement unit of volume. It is extensively used in the United States and becomes a default unit in soil calculation.

A cubic foot is the volume of one cube, which is described with three measurements: height, length, and width. All three of them are equal, which makes up the volume of a cube, and by default, each side of a cube is one foot long. The amounts of cubes will, therefore, define the volume of the container.

How to calculate cubic feet for your garden

Even an experienced gardener can have troubles determining how much soil they need to fill a garden bed or a container. And the trouble usually stems from the assumption that simple estimation will do the trick. However, estimating the soil you need without proper measuring will invariably lead to failure.

To make sure that you know exactly how much soil you will need for your garden bed, read the following example that details each step you need to do to calculate cubic feet for your garden.

Step 1

The first thing you need to do is to take the measurements of your bed or box in feet. Make sure to measure height (or depth), width and length. Some people are confused between square feet and cubic feet and subsequently, can’t work out the right figure.

Step 2

Now that you have the measurements, to figure out the volume you need to multiply width x length x height, and the result will be cubic feet. With the right number of cubic feet, you will be able to purchase the right number of soil bags for your garden beds that correspond to the capacity of your containers.

Step 3

To ensure higher effectiveness, consider converting a number of cubic feet into cubic yards. Soil and compost are available in cubic yards as well to accommodate large gardens. A cubic yard is typically composed of 27 cubic feet. Essentially, a cubic yard is made of 27 (3 x 3 x 3) cubic feet.

Step 4

To work out the number of cubic yards, use the result from step 2 and divide by 27. And then done, you’ve just got the right amount of cubic yards for your lovely garden.

There are some online tools available that can help you with conversion, but as you can see, the calculation is very easy and straightforward. After working on it for a couple of times, you will soon be able to picture and estimate the amounts you need quickly.

Final thoughts

The joy in gardening doesn’t just lie in reaping the fruits or feeling the flowers that you have grown with your sweat but also lies in the process of making things happen. We hope that our post has been able to add a little joy to your gardening chores while helping you speak the gardening language of cubic feet.

Once you have nailed the skill of soil calculation, there are many more things you can do to add more life to your raised garden beds, including growing amazing mints, setting up cold frames or grow beautiful bird of paradise flowers and much more.

James G. Craig
 

James G. Craig is a gardening enthusiast who splits his spare time between growing vegetables, preening his flower gardens, and blogging about his experiences at the Gardener Corner.

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