It's true, you can prepare an above or inground garden bed in the spring as you get ready to put in your plants and begin the growing process.
You can put in hours of sweaty, back breaking, callous making work. You can try to work around the uncooperative spring weather. Digging and hauling, hauling and digging … until you finally have the bed ready.
Or … with a little advanced planning during the fall, you can put in a little work towards an easy garden bed and then sit back and relax while your new bed does all the real work of getting ready over the winter for you to use it next spring.
In just five steps, you can prepare a new garden bed easily and without even lifting a shovel. Here's how:
Easy Garden Bed - Step by Step
Working right over top of the area, grass and all, lay out and edge the shape of the bed you want. Do this by using rope or a lawn hose or a can of spray landscape chalk.
Place a 6-8 sheet thick layer of black and white newspaper over the area. Overlap the pages. Black and white newsprint is better to use than print with colored ink. The colored ink may contain lead which would be harmful to plants.
Layering the newspaper over the sod will smother any grass or other vegetation underneath it and is much easier than manually digging out the sod to form a bed.
Wet the newspaper well to hold it in place. You might keep the hose or a watering can handy and wet the newspaper as you lay it down to keep it from blowing away before you get to the next step.
Use a bagged premium or enriched potting soil and cover the area with about 4-6 inches of the nutrient rich soil. A soil mixture that includes peat moss, perlite and a fertilizer would be good. If you prefer, you could use an organic compost mix instead of bagged potting soil.
Now, wait. That’s right. Grab some garden catalogs, choose some new plants you want to put in, and dream of planting them in the spring.
Over the winter, your new garden bed will be doing all the work of preparing for the spring.
The grass will die. The newspaper will start to decompose. Earthworms will start their job of plowing the soil to aerate it so that air and water will be able to freely circulate around the roots of the plants you’ll be putting in.
All of this will be happening while you’re inside, staying warm, drinking hot cocoa.
When you’re ready to plant next spring, your new garden bed should be, too!
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