Salt hay would be a great choice because it decomposes slowly, Beth. You can use almost anything to reduce the volume in your boxes, though. I've used leftover packing peanuts in large containers. Another option would be a bunch of nursery pots turned upside down.
I had a friend suggest empty water bottles but I'm not too sure I want a landfill :) Nursery pots! good idea, thank you.
Kind of wondering why you built it so tall? lots of people under estimate the weight of soil and build boxes too tall or too wimpy. I have seen poor designed retaining walls bow out that were not as tall as this box.
filling the lower portion with hay will "lighten" the load but in time it will compress and decay and the level will drop...then you would have to work over the ege down to the soil level...or add more soil which will add more weight.
When I constructed my raised beds only went up about 8 to 10 inches. and I blended a lot of peat moss into bags of composted cow manure and planting mix. This "lightend" the soils weight and improved the water retention capabilities.
are those garage door panels?
You dont have to fill it all the way up. It looks like you have enough in there already.
Thank you folks for the comments and suggestions. KMS, the garage door panels were going to lose strength if we cut them down in height so we decided to leave them as is. That is true Debbie we don't have to fill it all the way up. One section has potting soil in it and the two other sections hopefully will be filled by this weekend and we will be able to plant!!!
Consider contacting the local utility company and see if they have anyone trimming trees in the area, They are often willing to give you the wood chips. I think that would be a great filler and it decomposes nicely for you to add fresh soil down the road.
Another great idea Renee, thank you!
Hope you fared the tornadoes okay!!!
Yes we did Alison thank you. Thank God!