How to Prepare a Garden Bed?

Garden beds are the ornaments of your garden where the sparkling, multi-colored flowers and veggies flaunt fabulously to enhance the beauty of your luscious green lawn. However, the benefits of having garden beds on your lawn are not only constricted to curb appeal. In addition to this, you’ll get so many benefits such as

  • In every garden bed, you can grow a different type of vegetable or flower to avoid them from mixing up. Also, you can experiment with applying different plant feeds and pesticides to find the ideal one.
  • Separate soil for each harvest means the soil diseases would not transmit contagiously. Also, you can maintain the ideal temperature; relatively warmer, perfect moisture and high nutrient level for every crop.
  • If the soil of your area is mostly sandy, it would not be able to hold the water in it for longer periods. In such cases, raised garden beds help a lot by delivering better water retention. Not only the retention but you’ll also get the optimum water drainage.
  • Since the garden beds are a sort of no-go-area, the soil present there stays safe from getting compressed due to heavy foot traffic. In other words, garden beds ensure airer soil which facilitates proper growth and maximum yield.

In a nutshell, your garden beds are the main machinery of your harvest factory. If you want to see your factory flourishing, you need to prepare and maintain the garden beds for sure. So, here’s our guide to educate you about how to prepare garden beds. Read on and enlist your name in the list of successful gardeners.

How to Prepare a Garden Bed

How to prepare a garden bed?

When it comes to preparing garden beds, you either want to prepare a garden bed from scratch or want to prepare an already-existing garden bed, where nothing has been grown yet. However, the procedures for both are almost the same so let’s start our guide by starting a garden bed. If you want to know about preparing an existing bed, you could skip stepping 3 directly.

 Inspect and define the area 

First of all, you need to inspect the area where you are thinking about making your garden beds. During the inspection, you have to check whether there are some utility or irrigation pipelines buried or not. For this purpose, call on the corresponding government helplines and request a map.

After getting confirmed that the area is clear, define the boundary of your garden bed. To mark the area, you can use spray paints or chalks. During this, think about the number of plants you want to plant there so you could evaluate the ideal size. Keep your garden bed wider than what’s required which, in turn, will help you to keep the plants equally spaced.

Not only the size, but the shape of your garden bed is also an important thing to consider. For this purpose, consider the shape and layout of your garden, positioning of walkways, and kids play area. It’s always better to make your garden beds alongside the lawn borders in straight lines so they won’t grab too much room.

 Inspect and define the area
 Clean the area 

Once you are done with defining the area of the garden bed, the next task is to clean up the rubbles and harmful vegetation from there. Since you didn’t use the land before for growing plants, odds are there could be weed plants or dormant seeds buried there.

To remove the woody weed plants, use a hand shovel, spade, or pliers to root out the entire plants; from stem to root. You can also bush out green shrubs and herbs by pulling them out manually or using the hand shovel. However, to sweep out the seeds, you need to use a herbicide.

The chemical herbicides are the only solution to destroy the dormant weed seeds so they can’t germinate afterwards. However, you need to remember that the pesticides stay functional within the soil for some period. Thus, it’s better to apply them in fall or winter so you could plant the desired crop in the coming spring.

However, if you don’t have such a long time to wait, or if it’s already spring, use a weed & feed product. Such products hinder the seeds germination and keep on feeding the soil and plants simultaneously.

But don’t forget, weed & feed solutions are beneficial only if you are going to plant a transplant – not seeds. Otherwise, the formula would kill both weed seeds and your plant’s seeds. Resultantly, nothing will grow.

 Clean the area
 Prepare the soil 

Now, after removing all the unwanted vegetation from the area, you need to bring the soil into a condition where it can support life and it would only be possible if you reduce the compactness to zero by digging it enough.

For this purpose, damp the soil appropriately. Note down that we are not asking you to wet the soil. You just need to moist it a little so digging through it would not be too difficult. Remember, too dry soil will never let you dig through it more than 5-6 inches whereas the too wet soil will end up getting clumped.

We could make the soil perfectly damped when a ball of soil forms as soon as you squeeze it using your fist and break immediately on unsqueezing. After this, you have to start digging.

Tillers can prove quite helpful in this process if you are not making a garden bed from scratch. In other cases, you need to use a hand shovel or spade to break the extremely compact and compressed soil. Turn the soil over and over again and dig it too at least 12″ so the roots of your plants could expand easily.

How to Prepare Soil for Planting
 Apply the protective coatings 

Once digging the soil to the required depth, you need to apply a coating of protective and assisting compounds over the soil. For example, to improve the texture and airiness of the soil, add a very minor quantity of sand to the soil.

The sand keeps the soil loose and maintains good drainage to prevent pooling or flooding. Similarly, to overcome the nutrient deficiencies, add a 2-3 inches layer of compost or plant feed. For newer garden beds, phosphate and potassium fertilisers are best since they directly help to keep the plants surviving by inducing resilience in them.

However, we’d suggest you not move towards chemical fertilisers at such an initial stage. Whatever the minerals the compost contains, try your ultimate best that they belong to a natural and organic source.

Compost also helps to adjust the pH of the soil and you can add limestone, sulphur, or any other organic compounds to increase or decrease acidity. Apply a layer of compost and mix it up with soil by turning up. Repeat the process again and again to ensure its thorough distribution.

Lastly, to prevent weeds from sprouting out, apply a 3-4 inches layer of mulch. Besides synthetic mulch products, you can also use pine needles or bark for the same purpose. Lastly, rake the entire surface of the soil to discard bumps and unevenness. Keep raking till all the soil gets levelled up.

Apply the protective coatings
 Plant your plants and give the final touches 

Now, after doing tonnes of labour work, your garden bed is all-prepared to welcome your plants. Bury either the seeds or seedlings into the soil, water them, and apply another layer of mulch.

The motive behind applying mulch over the topsoil is to impart a neat and clean look to the garden beds. Also, mulch will keep the seeds in place by preventing them from being eaten up by birds or floating away with water or wind.

If you can stretch your budget a little further, we’d suggest you install an underground irrigation system into the garden beds. This irrigation system will not only deliver a sufficient amount of water to the plant’s roots but also prevent water loss.

 Plant your plants and give the final touches

Prepare a raised garden bed

Raised garden beds, as the name implies, are designed slightly higher than the garden’s surface level. Such garden beds are built inside the squared wooden containers or by placing plastic sheets in between a raised surface, bordered by rocks.

Such a garden bed is suitable for you if the soil conditions are not so good in your land. Preparing and maintaining raised garden beds are much easier and more time-efficient than in-ground beds since all you need to do is

  • Construct a raised bed using woodpiles or rocks and get high-quality soil from the nursery to fill it.
  • Since you are importing the soil from the nursery, it will be quite airy and full of nutrients so you don’t need to till or turn it over to remove compactness.
  • Usually, imported soil mixes are free of weed seeds, still, you can apply a layer of weed & feed formula to eliminate all the concerns.
  • Add mulch and compost to adjust the soil’s pH and prevent weed growth. Damp the soil, plant the crop or seeds and give final touches.
Prepare a raised garden bed