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Bloom Box

Growing Deeper Show Notes

2: Preparing a New Bed (Prep)

Photos demonstrating how to "chunk" up the soil with a shovel, solarize a garden to kill turf and weed seed with plastic tarps, the correct sharp shovel to use, and a garden with organic matter over cardboard over sod.

This episode we’re diving right into gardening topics with how to prepare a new garden bed or get ready to replant an old one. An insider tip: as gardeners we’re always in a hurry to get outside so we often shorten well used phrases like “preparing a new bed” to “bed prep”.

We promised you we would be growing deeper and this conversation delivered! It’s a little longer than we plan to be but there was so much to talk about:

Preparing new beds is a good early spring activity while we wait for spring cleanup time. 
There are several ways to remove turf: digging, spraying, sheet mulching & solarizing. 
Removing old, woody plants is hard! 
How to raise the grade or fill in any holes you made. 
Choosing and caring for your tools.


A note from Joe:

In the most recent episode, you asked if anyone had experience with leaving cardboard on a new bed after sheet mulching. Last year, I did that very thing and had excellent results.

In March we laid cardboard on top of grass (about 75 sq ft) and laid about 1 yard of fill dirt on top. On top of the fill dirt, I threw as much organic material I could find.

In the bed, I transplanted coneflowers from elsewhere in my yard and a hydrangea from the NSA. I also sowed seeds for sunflowers, black eyed susan, zinnias, mexican sunflowers, scarlet runner beans, and daikon radishes. I also had a couple massive sunflowers volunteer from the city’s compost.

Before I sowed seeds, I forked around in the area to ensure the roots had a clear path to the soil below the cardboard; not sure if that was necessary or not.

I will link you to an album with some dated pictures. And since you mentioned mountain mint in the previous episode, I included a video of the visitors to my virginia mountain mint (from my 2020 bloom box!); I received lots of joy watching those shiny blue wasps last year.



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