I was all set to purchase a couple of scoops of good topsoil, add the rabbit poop and be ready to plant.
I thumbed through the 'New Square Foot Garden' book and he is recommending the mixture of
1/3 mixed composte (which I do not have)
1/3 Peat Moss
1/3 Coarse Vermiculite
In the past I have made small quanitites of this I used Nature's Helper, Peat Moss & Vermiculite, but we are talking HUGE quantities here!
I am thinking
1/3 Mixture of Mushroom Composte (I can buy that by the scoop) & Rabbit Poop
1/3 Peat Moss
1/3 Vermiculite (Doesn't this just come in small expensive bags?)
Does anyone have any suggestions? We want to start this off right, but sensible.
Honestly, it's hard to say without a soil test, BUT if you believe your top soil to be viable, you can do a damn near 50/50 mix with a complete compost. If the soil doesn't drain well (or drains too well), the pH is jacked, or it is barren, etc., then obviously you have to find other top soil, amend what you have, or do the expensive mix of Peat/Vermiculite. There are fixes to all of those issues as well, but I don't want to complicate the issue just yet, lol.
With the size of your raised beds, you have to think more like permanent garden soil, and less like a potting soil which really has to be replaced or reconditioned as it is used for proper performance. In your instance, you will be ramping up the fertility of the soil each year with your soil amendments, your compost teas, your cover crops, your mulches, your inoculates, your worms etc. (It is in these practices were the "magic" happens) So, right now you don't have to sweat the small stuff.
I would first try a small batch of good screened top soil (either yours, or procured) and do a 5-6 gallon test batch of 50% topsoil and 50% mushroom compost/rabbit poo. Check consistency, clumping, drainage, and pH. I would be willing to say you would be damn close, if not there at that point. If it is still a bit off, the results will pretty much tell you what you need to add then and there. (i.e. lime/dolomite, sand, hummus, etc.)
_______________________________________U.S. ARMY 11B1P 3rd US INF(TOG) 96-00U.S. ARMY 94F10 101st 3rd BCT NowEpulamur libenter eos qui nos subiungeant
________ We gladly feast on those who would subdue us _______