Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

Preparing an old garden bed or renewing a vegetable patch

There are many ways to do this, but for a new gardener I found this one to be pretty straight forward and easy to follow. Please do comment if you have found alternative methods, I’d love to hear them and I’m sure others would as well!

  • 1. Dig out and remove any unwanted plants. Leave their roots systems in to decompose and add organic matter to the new bed.
  • 2. Turn over the soil to a depth of at least 2 shovels deep. Approximately 40cm.
  • 3. Loosen up the soil so there are no big clumps of soil.
  • 4. Remove any large stones and sticks.
  • 5. Add any ameliorants that are need. For example – Sandy soil – add lots of organic matter (mixed manures, worm castings etc.), and gypsum (for calcium) Clay based soil- the addition of Gypsum (a clay breaker) and course washed river sand, as well as organic matter. Puggy soil – soil that holds too much moisture- adds lots of course washed river sand to aid in drainage.
  • 6. Add Gypsum (calcium) to the soil if you have not already done so, certified organic pelleted fertiliser and of course, WORM CASTINGS! (if you can get your hands on some)
  • 7. Hydrate the soil. One person holds a hose and disperses the water evenly, while the other person turns the soil over with a pitch fork. Continue to do this until the soil is hydrated to approximately 1 shovel deep. You will visually see when the soil is starting to retain moisture. Don’t make it soggy though.
  • 8. Rake the soil so that is level using a nail rake, but don’t compact it.
  • 9. Now you can either go ahead and plant or you can wait 7-10 days and then take a pH test to determine the gardens pH. If you need to adjust the pH, do so, and wait a further 7-10 days before planting.
  • 10. Mulch with sugar cane to a depth of 50mm wether you are planting at the moment or not. If you have really course sugar cane try this out – place sugar cane on mown lawn, run over it with the mower. This will chop it up more finely which will allow new seedlings or immerging seeds to be able to reach the sunlight sooner (then they won’t be lanky and stretched trying to reach for the light).


Posted under: Ameliorants, Garden Preparation

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