Updated: Apr 15, 2021
This photo is the before picture. I will take step by step how I will make a garden bed.
The first step is to suppress the grass, so it doesn't grow up through the compost. Some suitable methods for that are contractors paper, cardboard, or newspaper. After you have laid the paper or cardboard down, then soak it with water.
In the second step, I measured out the width of my row of compost. I decided to go with thirty inches. You will need to select what works best for you. I used the wood I had lying around as markers. I have seen people using stakes as their markers, which seems to work well. They insert a stake into the ground on one side of the bed and then another stake into the other side of the bed. They run a string between the stakes and tie off each end around each stake. The line will be a guideline for them to follow to make the bed rows straight and even. After I have laid all the compost and woodchips down, I will remove the wood pieces. For my walkways, I have laid down wood chips.
I have a tool for edging so that I have nice clean edges. I also used the wood as a guideline to keep my edges as straight as possible. The picture below shows this step. I just wanted to show that I didn't cut a lot out, as little as possible.
I finished filling in the garden bed with compost and woodchips after I had made my edge around the garden bed. Below is the picture I took when it was close to finished. I wanted a finished illustration, but it was starting to snow, so I took the photo before the snow covered the garden bed. Here is my almost finished bed. After the picture, I finished and then cleaned up. I will continue to update as I plant and things start to grow. I'm very excited to get planting, but I still have a couple of months left before I can plant. My perennial bed with grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and currants is in the background.
How to Start a Vegetable Garden
Are you wondering how to get your garden started? Here's a short introductory guide for garden planning stages.
Today I want to share my garden starting experiences to help you for the 2021 growing season. This post will share how I would start a garden if I were starting over again. Start small so that it is manageable for you. You can always expand your garden later if you feel you can handle more.
First, you will want to decide where to place your garden(preferably where you will get more than six hours of sun in the day). Any less than that, and you will have trouble growing most vegetables. Once you have identified your location, you need to determine what type of garden will work best. You will have to decide if you want a raised bed garden, no-till, or a no-dig garden bed. I have no experience with rototilled garden beds. If you have no yard, maybe it's still possible to have a container garden.
Once you have your location and method chosen, you will need to determine where your shadows will be during the summer months. Once you calculate where the summer shade will be, you can map out your garden area and settle on the vegetables you would like to grow, keeping in mind the hours of sunlight required for the growing varieties. Map out where you will plant each vegetable now that you have a plan in place and start getting prepared or seed starting.
I like to have my garden planned by February, so I'm not scrambling around when it comes time for me to seed start. Typically you will want to place compost or mulch down in the fall, so over the winter months, it will break down and add organic matter to your soil, thus giving the vegetables the nutrients they need to thrive. Get your compost or mulch down as soon as possible before you plant your seeds or seedlings.
My first year was horrible. I was wondering if I wanted to continue the following year. I decided that I will try another year, and I'm glad I persisted. The next year was full of surprising rewards that made me realize I love to garden, and I'm excited to get started every year. Don't give up if you have a terrible year. If you keep going, you will see tremendous rewards!! If you have questions concerning your gardening endeavor, leave a comment, and I'll try to answer as best I can to help you grow your garden.
How to Start a No-Till Garden Bed
I believe that a no-till garden bed is one of the best ways to garden. With rototilling, you kill all the helpful organisms in the soil. This allows the sun to hit the earth and dry out and cause it to become compacted. Imagine standing in the sun year after year with your shirt off. Your skin will become hard, dry, and cracked. Your skin will be dehydrated, and it will look like leather. No one wants to destroy their skin this way. That is essentially what happens to your soil when you let the sun beat on it repeatedly. I believe that no-till gardening is beneficial to your plants and the environment. Now that being said, let's learn how to start a no-till garden.
First, follow the steps in How to Start a Vegetable Garden. After you have gone through all the stages of starting your garden, you will want to prepare the area you will have chosen for your garden. Depending on what you're growing, either perennials or annuals will make a difference in how you will want to set this up.
I have placed wood chips down as a mulch for perennials in my garden. Wood chips, straw, or even rocks. Whatever simple for you to get your hands on. For me, I can get wood chips for free at my local City Recycle Center. Perennials seem to thrive in this environment how I set this up. First, you need to lay down some material like cardboard, paper, or newspaper. The purpose of this is to kill the grass and the weeds. You can use any material that will decompose over time. After you have laid your paper material down, soak it with water. After that, add your mulch on top. As soon as you have your mulch down, start planting in your new perennial no-till garden bed!
Let's move on to preparing for an annual no-till garden bed. You want to do the same thing as the perennials above to kill the grass and weeds by laying a paper material down to decompose over time. Once you have soaked the material in water, lay compost over the top of the paper material. Once you have your compost down, go ahead and plant in your new no-till annual garden bed!