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Gardening Tips for Beginners, Part 2: Starting Raised Beds

It may still be winter outside, but in my mind summer is starting. To help me beat the winter blues I dream of crunchy, sweet peas fresh from the garden melting in my mouth and hummingbirds whizzing past my ears.

In my last post, Gardening Tips for Beginners, Part 1: The Potted Garden, I talked about starting a garden in pots. In this post I’ll share what I’m learning as I plan to create garden beds.

The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith is my main guide because it has thorough, simple steps for everything from choosing what material to use for raised beds to naturally controlling common pests and diseases.

The decision for where to place the beds was based on where there is the most sun exposure, which means facing south without trees in the way. There are a lot of trees and brush to clear (thank goodness for my boyfriend’s strong arms!), but soon enough we’ll begin creating the beds…I’m so excited!

Here are the steps I’ll be taking to create my garden beds:

  1. Mark where the beds will be with stakes and string.
  2. Deep fork (love that term!) the soil beneath where those beds will be, which means shoving a pitch fork into the ground and rocking it back and forth to loosen the soil. Ed says this will allow roots to grow longer and so be more productive. I’ll deep fork about 8 inches down.
  3. Build my boxes, making sure to build in support in the corners. I’ll most likely use untreated cedar because I don’t want nasty chemicals leaching into my garden.
  4. Put one inch of compost over the soil that’s been deep forked
  5. Put about 10 inches of topsoil and compost over the top, filling in to about two inches from the top of the wall.
  6. Let the soil settle for at least one week.
  7. Nestle in my plant baby plants and watch them grow!

One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that gardeners always have more to learn, so if you have gardening tips, tricks and treasures, please share! 

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