Sunday, April 15, 2012

Making My Bed

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When I was growing up I never liked to make my bed and I still don't to this day, but when it comes to making up a garden bed that is a different story.  Every time I prep a bed for planting I do it a little different and I learn something new in the process.  I think I have got my method down pretty good so here is what I do.  Some of this may be common sense to the veteran gardeners out there, but I wanted to share my method.

Step 1:  First you need a bed that needs some work like this one.  This is my snow pea bed.  I am going to plant eggplants and bell peppers here and need to get it ready.

Step 2:  You are going to need some soil amendments.  Most of the time my beds lose about an inch of soil every 3 to 6 months.  Most times I go to the big box stores and buy a bag or two of mushroom compost or cow manure.  This time I needed a truck load of something because I have another project that requires some soil.  My local nursery has an excellent "vegetable mix" as they call it.  It has everything you need and it only costs $42 dollars a yard.  That is the same price many places charge you for just plain top soil.

Step 3:  Work your soil amendments into the soil to level off the bed.  I like to take a board and screed the bed so it is nice and flat.

Step 4:  Next I lay down my weed fabric and tie my string grids to the bed.  The weed fabric is worth the cost and the little bit of extra time it takes to install.  This bed will not need to be weeded.  The only time I don't put down fabric is if I am planting something that is a lot of seeds and would be a hassle to cut a lot of holes, like corn or peas.  The grids are a carry over from the square foot gardening method, and I like to set them after I put my fabric down.  This makes centering and spacing the plants easier. 

Step 5:  Lay out your plants where you want them to go.  In my case I have four eggplants and four bell peppers each centered in the two foot grids.

Step 6:  Cut holes around your plants and plant them in the openings.  I mound my soil around each plant and water thoroughly.  I will add bamboo supports to the plants when they grow a little taller.


Crafty Cristy said...

Great tutorial. I am glad you mentioned that you lose about an inch of soil every 3 to 6 months. I lose soil, too, and have wondered about it.

GrafixMuse said...

Excellent tutorial! I love how rich the soil looks after amending. The weed fabric will help keep the soil from drying out quickly as well.

Ed said...

Kris, this is a great tutorial! It's interesting to see how different areas need different methods. If don't need the weed fabric since my areas is do closely planted their are very few weeds. If I can ever do a major expansion I will keep your method in mind.

Kris said...

Cristy - Thanks, I have always wondered where in the world does all that soil go? My best guess is it leaks out the bottom of the beds kind of like runoff when it rains. It is definitely a garden mystery to me.

Grafix - Thank you, I love that garden mix my local nursery has. It makes it so easy because everything you need is mixed in.

Ed - I only used weed fabric in one bed last year and I learned my lesson. The beds that I didn't use it on were a nightmare to maintain. You are very lucky to have very few weeds.

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

Should make for a very minimal work needed bed. :)

Kris said...

Thanks Stay @ Home, I sure hope so.

Bernadine said...

Thanks so much for the step by step help. This is my first year growing vegetables. My beds need amendments but I'm not sure what to do, what to add. They look anemic.
What "local" nursery do you by the garden soil from?

Kris said...

Bernadine - Thanks and I am glad it helped you. The nursery is a local place called Tomar Garden Center. The owner calls it his vegetable mix and it has compost already mixed in. I can't remember what all it contains, but I used it when I first filled my beds so I know it works. :)

Bernadine said...

Thanks. I'll see if they're in my area. If not, I know what type of amendment to look for.

Jenny said...

I think I'll try using this method on my pepper bed as well - it's 21 feet long and I would prefer to avoid weeding :) Thanks for the tutorial!

Tomato Thymes said...

I recently won the Versatile Blogging Award and was asked to nominate others who have a great blog.
You have won the Versatile Blogging Award.


Kris said...

Jenny = I actually first tried this last year in my jalapeno pepper and eggplant bed. I didn't have to pull a single weed.

Tomato Thymes - You have a cool name. Thank you so much for nominating me for this award. I appreciate the honor.

Tomato Thymes said...

Kris--you have a great blog and I have learned alot from your blog and so many of the other gardening bloggers. I am always learning something new even though I have been gardening for years!

BTW if you are interested, you may post the Badge for the versitle blogger on your site. I did not realize that until I was told this and I have it up as a picture as my last post on my website.

Kris said...

Thanks so much for the kind of words, I have learned a lot in 2 years from others blogs as well. I am glad I am able to share.

Thanks I will see if I can get it posted.

Kris said...

I got it posted and linked the picture to your blog post. Thanks again.