Preparing the soil

How to prepare the soil in the garden

How to get the soil in your garden borders ready for planting your bedding plants.

This will depend very much on what state the soil is in when you start. If you have kept it neatly weeded and used it for other plants it is probably in fairly ok condition. It might need some nutrients digging in though to benefit the plants.

First though weed out any obvious weeds: things like dandelions are a nuisance if you don’t get them out. Dig out as much of the root as possible to avoid it regrowing. Ideally you should get out the entire root but they can go down a way.
Annual weeds like chickweed probably aren’t much in evidence early in the year but will start up as soon as the weather is warm enough.

Dig through the soil and remove any matted bundles of old roots or large stones.
Remove the weeds and put them on the compost heap.

Dig in some well rotted compost or horse manure. Make sure it is fine and well rotted though. You can buy it in bags from the garden centre and this is great stuff for your garden. You won’t need a lot as you can water the plants with a fertiliser every month. Adding compost or manure will improve the soil condition generally which is a good thing and you’ll get more worms in it too!
It'll also mean the soil has more organic material which means it can retain more water which is useful if it doesn't rain much.

Level off and then rake the soil giving it a good even finish.

You should be aiming to have fine crumbly soil that rakes off evenly. This is easiest when it's not rained for a few days. If the soil is well then leave it as it'll be too hard to weed without removing lots of the soil, and raking is almost impossible if it's too wet!

Get it ready in advance of planting out the plants! This is because it will almost certainly take longer than you plan for!

If it’s got a lawn next to it then now is a good time to tidy up the edge of the lawn, perhaps clipping it neatly or using a half moon to tidy the edge.

Your border needs to be deep enough so plants don’t trail across the lawn too much else they will get mowed when you cut the grass.

Once the border is level and raked you are ready to go ahead and plant.

One gardening hint is to leave the bed a week before doing anything with it and then looking out for annual weeds sprouting up and remove them! Some are light activated so get into the mood for growing by you disturbing the soil.


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