When transforming an area of grass or weeds into a flowerbed or vegetable garden, it is essential to prepare the location properly so that what is planted there will have the best opportunity to prosper. This article will detail how to prepare an area to be a flowerbed or vegetable garden.
First, remove whatever big rocks, debris, and plants are there. Then dig up any lawn or weeds, and shake the good soil thoroughly from the root systems. If the lawn is good, the grass can be transplanted to other parts of the lawn, but depending on how much soil is in that grass, you may need to add more topsoil. If there are a lot of tree roots, it might not be the best to disturb too many of them. In which case, simply remove the unwanted plants, prepare the holes, and transplant the plants there.
The next step is to turn the soil over. Traditionally, this is done with a spade, digging to the full depth of the shovel, turning over the soil, and removing any roots and rocks. Rototillers are also used to do this; rototillers sometimes don’t work in rugged areas but are generally faster than manually tilling the soil.
Bring over any compost, organic matter, lime, and fertilizer that you want to add, and spread it over the soil, then with the shovel or rototiller, mix it all in. If a soil test needs to be done, it is best to get those results in before even disturbing the soil, to reduce risk of erosion. Lime and slow-release materials such as bonemeal, greensand, and rock phosphate can be added in fall. Do not add over an inch of high-nutrient organic materials such as manures, lest the phosphorus content of the soil become excessive. Nitrogen and fertilizer should be added in spring, as it will leach during the winter if added in fall. It is generally better to prepare vegetable gardens in spring, flowerbeds should also be prepared in spring unless they are to be planted in that fall. Tilling can be done in fall without risking erosion, if a mulch is applied afterwards.
By following these simple procedures, your flowerbed or garden is better prepared so that the plants that will grow there will have the best start and conditions which to grow in. Vegetable and annual gardens can be turned over regularly, while perennial flowerbeds can be top dressed with compost and fertilizers so as not to have to disturb the plants.