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Preparing your garden bed

Want to get the very best out of your garden bed. weather you’re planting vegetable, herbs or flowers, making sure that you have the right soil to start with is essential. To start my bed off I raked away all the dead matter on top and disposed of it (when I say ‘I’ what I really mean is, i did some of it and i got my partner to do the rest for me because i’m dealing with a shoulder injury at present).
 
Next I turned over the dirt as i’m working with clay in my garden bed so it’s going to need a lot of compost to get it to a nice loamy consistency. I removed all last seasons bulbs as i’m using this bed for vegetables so i don’t want any flower bulbs popping up in my broccoli. I watered the soil well and added multiple bags of manures and composts that i get from a local lady up the road (sourcing free or cheap manure is the most cost effective way to go). I added horse poo, chicken poo, cow poo, pig poo, vegetable compost and straw from out of a chicken yard. Make sure you don’t use fresh poo especially chicken poo directly on your plants as it will burn them, this process will take a bit of time, so no planting our seedlings just yet.

 

 
I mixed the manure and compost well and spread evenly over the garden. If you have access to a cement mixer you can use it to mix your compost before adding it to your garden to save a lot of work, unfortunately mine isn’t here at the moment so good old elbow grease it is. I mixed the garden thoroughly to get it nice and wet and really kick start the breaking down process.
 
 
I let that soak for awhile and then its time to add the magic ingredient. Get yourself a good water saver product, I use Yates water wise water wetter and have had great results, I just added it on top, then it was time to turn it over. I personally find the easiest way to turn it over is to use the hoe and dig channels all the way along your patch. once you have a few channels then you rake it even and water it, then repeat the process tomorrow and then several more times before your patch is ready.
 
 
 
If your garden bed isn’t full enough just keep adding more manure and compost and if you have access to it some more garden soil (the loamier the better), and mix it in till you are happy with the amount. Finally to finish it off get yourself a good garden mulch and cover with a nice even layer, about 10 cm should keep the weeds to a minimum. Give your bed at least a week to settle and make sure your manure isn’t going to burn your plants, the longer you leave it the better it will be. If you have the time to wait a while before you will be planting you can add your home scraps (no meat, potato or onion) and even some worms to really boost your garden. It is best to have several garden beds on the go at different times so you can be planting in one that’s ready while preparing another bed. If you can attract good insects to your garden too then you will really be onto a winner, i’ll post more details on how to attract good insects in another article.
 
 
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Samona Nicholls

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