It’s spring in Coffs Harbour, and it’s time to get your hands dirty! Picture this — Your very own enchanting flower beds or a crop of delicious home-grown salad and vegetables; sounds good? Read on, and you’ll discover just how achievable this idea can be by creating new garden beds..
Step 1: Marking out the new garden beds
First, we need a bit of planning, or at least a good old “napkin sketch”. Use a flexible garden hose to define the boundaries of your new garden bed. Make adjustments as needed until you are happy with the proposed dimensions. Next, use a spray can of paint as a spot marker to trace around the hose.
Step 2: Clearing the Land
Proceed by removing existing lawn and plants occupying the area earmarked for your garden beds. Two common methods include:
Muscle power – Roll up your sleeves and dig the garden beds. Pull out all weeds and grass from the soil. It is essential to be thorough; otherwise, stubborn plants might regrow.
The herbicide route – Spraying the area with an appropriate non-residual and non-selective herbicide. Then, after the plants have died, they can be dug back into the soil, where they’ll decompose safely.
Note: it’s generally considered safe to plant in areas treated with glyphosate three weeks after application.
Step 3: Working the Soil for Garden Beds
Next, it’s time to flex those muscles again and dig deeper into the soil with a spade, about a spade-and-a-half deep. Breaking up the earth this way maximises air and water penetration.
Step 4: Carrying out a Soil Test
Understanding your soil gives you the best chance of flourishing garden beds. Two useful tests are:
pH level test – By determining the alkalinity or acidity of your soil, you can adjust the pH levels appropriately for your desired plants using lime, compost, manure, or sulphur.
Soil composition test – Provides valuable information on what your soil is made of, helping you understand if it’s sandy, clay-based, or a mix.
Step 5: Improving your Soil
Last but not least, focus on soil enrichment. Make your garden bed fertile by adding organic matter like compost and well-weathered manure. Use a garden fork to turn the soil, aerate it, and incorporate these nutrients. If your soil test indicated clay-rich, adding gypsum can help break it up and improve its composition.
Now that you’re equipped with these techniques, it’s time to journey into the satisfying world of gardening. Remember, these techniques apply equally to ground-level and raised garden beds.