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Starting Garden Beds

Starting Garden Beds

Here are some general garden tips. Here we are
preparing a bed to plant some sunflowers, but this is the way we prepare
all of our beds.


Here we are starting with a bed from last year.  It is already raised about 6" which is an important start to make sure plants don't sit in too much water during periods of extended rain.  We have scraped off most of the weeds with our spring scraper. 


We then sprinkle a light dusting of commercial fertilizer.  We use a 14-8-12 that we buy in 50 lb bags from our local farm store.   You can also find flower fertilizer at Lowes and Home Depot.  You can also choose to use an organic fertilizer or compost.  If you are new to gardening you might want to buy a small soil test kit to make sure your Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphate, and PH are in the right ranges. Generally garden flowers like a PH in the 6.5 range but we find they are very forgiving and PH seems to affect color more than plant flourish. Our experience is if your PH is between 6 and 7 don't worry about it. If you do have a PH issue use lime to increase it and elemental sulfer to descrease it. Both are also available at your local garden center.  Over time you will get a feel of what you need to put down.


We then till down about 6".  We are using our walk behind tiller,  but you can use any tiller you have access to or old school it with a pitch fork.  In the end you want a fine granulation so that seed, or seedling, roots can push to their required depth.  Most annual  garden flowers won't go more than 6" but some perennials will eventually go more than 6".


Here we are planting sunflower seeds so we are going 1/2" to 1" deep.  We then mark our spacing either with our stick, which has different depths marked on it, or the first digit of our finger.  Spacing is dependant on flower type and the look we are going for.  Alternatively you can also plant seedlings in larger holes. 

We have used different seeders, like the Earthway seeder, using various plates but found they usually dropped too many seeds or not enough.  So even when we were planting 200 sunflowers we found it more efficient by hand.

 


Some like to presoak their seeds before planting but we find that it does not make that much difference for most flowers.  After planting our seeds we then smooth with the back of our garden rake. Try to stay off this newly planted area to keep the soil nice and fluffy so the new roots can penetrate as deep as possible.


We then top with a light dusting from our compost bin.  Store purchased compost is generally black but ours looks a little different as it is from our compost generators Cowboy and Maisey.  At this point we water thoroughly.  You want the soil to settle around the seeds and make good contact. 


Special thanks go to Cowboy and Maisey for the free compost.