We’re ready to learn how to prepare a garden bed now. To prepare the bed, first put a rough edge on with a spade to define the garden.
When preparing a garden, you can either remove the grass and double dig, or sheet mulch right on top of the grass.
You discover both of those in detail in the Smiling Gardener Academy. Today I’ll just take out the grass for use in a compost pile, and dig in my compost and fertilizers.
Some people will only amend the backfill in the planting holes with compost or garden soil, but you really want to amend your whole organic garden because the roots are going to go out there anyway, especially if you encourage them to do so. The microbes and earthworms hang out there, too, and they need organic matter.
You’ll notice I’m not bringing in topsoil. There’s really no benefit in doing that most of the time. It’s compost you want.
This how to prepare a garden bed video went long, so I had to divide it into two days. But feel free to ask me anything about this first part below.
How To Prepare A Garden Video Transcript
Okay, it’s time for how to prepare a garden here.
And, the first thing I’m going to do is put on an edge with my spade, which I’ve actually already started here. I’ll point the camera down so you can see what’s going on here.
So you can kind of see I’ve already started this and I drew that in on my design, you may remember from the first video.
So that really helps me to figure out where its going to go when I actually do it. But also once I get doing it there’s a bit of art sort of a bit of a feel for something that is going to look nice.
So I’m just going to show you in case you haven’t done this before, what I do. So I take my spade, I’ve just kind of started it, too. I kind of do it very shallow at first to get a feel for what it’s going to look like.
And, basically, it just involves putting the spade in, kicking down, peeling the grass up and going along like that.
And that’s how you put a nice edge on. Going fairly straight down, like that.
Now, there are two main ways I would deal with putting in an organic garden. I would put this edge on.
I could sheet mulch this, or, I could sheet mulch right on top of the grass here, or I could just take off the grass and then bring in my compost and either double dig it in or till it in.
I’ll kind of show you here if I zoom back out you can see there is my sheet mulch I did this year. I did it this spring and now its fall and this is a great time to be doing all this kind of stuff. So, it’s broken down quite a bit from when I started it and there’s some over here.
And, that new little bit in front is where I’m doing some cover cropping but that was my sheet mulch, so I’m not going to do that today, I don’t really have time for it today, but that’s a really great thing to get into.
Today what I’m going to do is just take off the grass and maybe what I’ll do is I’ll turn the camera off for that and I’ll come back when that’s done…
So I’ve taken off most of my sod here but I thought I’d better show you what I’m doing. Basically I’ll come with my spade really low like this. I’ve already taken this up so it’s pretty easy now, but it’s tough work doing this.
If you have a big area to do you can get a sod cutter, you can rent one and that’ll do a lot of the work for you. But, it is kind of back breaking work which is why sheet mulching is a little nicer if you don’t want to do that much heavy work.
But with the sheet mulching you have to go get all the materials so there are advantages to both.
So, when I do this I want to leave most of my garden soil in the vegetable garden, I mean, that’s precious soil.
In my case and what I would advise you to do is, I don’t worry about it too much because I’m going to take all of this sod with the soil that comes with it and put it into a compost bin so it will eventually come back into the organic garden here.
So, I don’t worry too much about leaving all the soil in here. So, basically just take it off and kind of drop it up and down to drop soil off and I put it out of the way and that’ll go into a compost pile. Okay so I basically got that now.
There will be still some grass roots in here. I’ve certainly done the thing before where you take out all the grass roots or as much as the grass roots, too as you can. And that just takes too much time. But, it won’t grow back much because we’re going to mulch it well.
So, next step is bringing in the compost here and this is just straight compost. You know there’s no garden soil in it.
I think that’s one thing I forgot to mention when I was talking about compost. I don’t want to bring in topsoil – it doesn’t have really much of anything advantage (where’s my rake?). Topsoil doesn’t offer any advantage and often it actually brings in some disadvantages and causes some problems.
So, I don’t want topsoil or I don’t want compost and topsoil mix like in a 2 or 3 way mix, I just want straight compost. That’s really what I need.
The only time I would bring in topsoil is if I had to change the grade or something. But very rarely do I want to use topsoil.
So, I’m going to spread this out here and this is kind of what the Smiling Gardener Academy is all about, just getting into this stuff in a lot more detail. The videos are very practical. I try to get very hands on so like stuff like this where I’m really showing you how to do it. ‘How to prepare a garden ‘ will be continued next time…