Growing your own vegetables in your garden is an amazing way of being self-sufficient. It also lets you save money since you can pick the veggies out of your garden instead of buying them from the store. One of the biggest advantages of doing this is that you’re sure there are no chemicals and additives used in growing the plants that your family will be eating. If that sounds good to you, here’s how to prepare a garden bed for planting vegetables.
We go through each of the steps below to help you start your own edible garden at home.
Planning Your Garden Bed
Before you start doing anything with the soil, it’s a good idea to plan out your garden beds beforehand. The reason this is important is so that you have a good idea of what you’ll be doing. This makes the entire process go smoothly.
Another reason planning ahead of time is essential is because gardens often come in different shapes. This means that you’ll need to use different beds to fit into your plot. It will also give you an idea which plants to put side by side and which ones to keep away from one another. Planning also lets you figure out how to rotate the different beds over time.
Other things to consider when planning include.
- Size of your beds
- Depth of the beds
- Pathways that let you and your tools cross
Finally, it’s also a good time to decide what kind of beds will you be setting up. A few options include:
- Raised beds
- In ground beds
- Sunken beds
How to Prepare the Soil for Vegetable Gardening
Once you’ve made your preliminary plans, it’s time to get the soil ready. The soil is the most important element of your garden because it is where your plants will grow. This includes everything including grass, flowers, herbs, fruits or vegetables.
Thus, it’s important to make sure that your soil is in good condition. Good quality soil is one that’s rich in nutrients. This gives you the best chance of growing vegetables and other plants.
If you’re growing plants on the soil for the first time, it probably has a lot of nutrients because they’ve never been tapped.
Get Rid of Weeds
One of the precautions we like to do before you start to plant anything is to get rid of weeds. Weeds are never a thing for lawns or gardens. They don’t look pretty.
And, more importantly, they invade your garden, destroy the plants you want to grow and prevent you from achieving the garden you want.
So, it’s a good idea to pull out any weeds you can see in the plot. Small ones are easy to pull out. You want to get rid of as many weeds as you can. If you need to, get a shovel to make sure you pull the roots out.
Test Your Soil
Next up is testing your soil. For this step, it’s a good idea to buy a soil test kit. You can get them online or from your local store.
Testing your soil allows you to figure out what kind of plants are best suited for it. The soil test kit will tell you your soils pH level. A pH Level that is 7.0 or above means that the soil is alkaline. On the other hand, lower pH levels means it’s acidic.
Certain plants thrive in alkaline or acidic soils. So, the simplest thing to do is choose the type that fits your soil type. In addition, different soil types need different kinds of care.
But, if you want to grow specific plants or veggies that aren’t suited for you soil, then you’ll need to take extra measures. This will let you modify the pH levels of your soil so you can plant what you want. Although, this means more time to let the soil adjust.
Check How Much Moisture It Has
After you’ve done the soil test, it’s time to check the soil moisture. Environments that are too dry or too damp are both bad for plants. They each have their own problems.
Dry soil isn’t good for growing plants because they thrive on water. Your garden, especially grass drinks a lot of water. So, dry ground is one way of prevent your garden from growing as much as it normally would.
For this reason, it’s important to make sure the soil is sufficiently watered.
Damp and wet soil is not only mushy and sticks to everything, it also isn’t good for plant health. Leaving the area wet or too moist increases the risk of pests and also mold and other diseases. This can infest your garden and quickly destroy it.
Add Organic Matter
Once the soil is ready, it’s time to give it a boost. From here on end, your job as a gardener is to make the soil as good as it can be. The better quality and more nutrients the soil has, the more crops you can harvest out of your vegetable garden.
Here, you have a few choices. The most obvious one is to add fertilizer. But, you’re not limited to just that. There are a few other ways to increase the organic matter in your soil. These include using compost, animal manure, green manure and sea soil.
Which one you choose will depend on what you have, what falls within your budget and which ones are better suited for your garden.
Use Soil Amendments
In addition to the fertilizer and compost, your can likewise use a variety of amendments to improve your soil. These amendments are available in your garden center so you can go there and choose which ones you like.
Don’t be afraid to ask the expert in the center. They’re always ready and willing to help. The goal with soil amendments it to add more nutrients. This will help your plants and vegetables grow throughout the year. Some great options include rock dust, plant food and worm castings.
Level the Soil So That It Becomes Smooth
To finish the soil preparation, it’s time to level it out. This is one way of making your garden look nice. But, it also serves a few functions. One is to prevent bumps and uneven areas.
It’s never nice to look at a garden with deep holes and indentations. In addition, this condition also makes the water uneven.
Level surfaces allow you to water the plants evenly. It also helps them get even distribution of water when it rains. Finally, level surfaces let your plants grow vertically. This lets them receive direct sunlight and not get blocked out by shades or hidden under or behind indentations.
Add Mulch Over the Surface
For extra measure, add a nice, thick layer of mulch. Mulch helps protect your lawn and garden from the harsh rays of the sun during very hot days. It also helps retain moisture so the water doesn’t evaporate quickly. This prevents the soil from drying out.
Finally, mulch breaks down over time. When they do, they’re used by the ground as nutrients to help the fertilize the soil.