How To Prepare A Flower Bed For Growing Outstanding Plants -

How To Prepare A Flower Bed For Growing Outstanding Plants

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We know that if you're a gardener, you want plants that are big, beautiful and healthy.

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For that to happen you need the right growing conditions. Follow our guide below for how to prepare a flower bed and you'll be well on your way to a great looking garden.

This handy guide applies whether you're designing a new garden from scratch or you're planting in an already existing garden that has not been maintained.

We also assume you've already defined your bedlines, whether it's a new garden or a pre-existing one. If you haven't you should do that first, either by digging a trenched edge with your garden spade, or using edging (which would not be our recommendation but hey, some people just like edging).

Once that is done, you can move on the preparing your flower bed for the plants that will be added.

Before we get into the actual process, let's talk about the soil amendments you will be using.

Using The RIght Soil Amendments

Soil amendments are an absolute necessity if you want your gardens to look great. It always amazes us at how many home owners we see NOT using soil additives and then wondering why their plants aren't doing the best.

It might be tempting to save time and/or money by skipping this step but we encourage you to do it.

There are 2 soil amendments we recommend:

  1. Nutrient Rich Soil Mixture and/or Compost: We like one particular product which always works so we've always used it exclusively. CLICK HERE to see that product. This will provide valuable nutrients that your plants will need to grow big and healthy. Use one or the other, but not both. When we add compost, we don't add the soil amendment and vica versa.
  2. Peat Moss: Most people would not think to use peat moss, but we find it extremely helpful in the garden. Peat moss helps the soil with aeration, making it lighter and less dense. This means that nutrients and water can penetrate and get down to the roots of the plants. Always use peat moss!

Next we'll talk about the specifics on how to prepare your flower bed the correct way.

There are 2 ways you can do this each with it's own pros and cons. We have done both for clients and had our reasons for doing it one way or another; all described below...

How To Prepare The Entire Bed:

This method involves more work than the next method we'll talk about, because you'll need to mix the existing native soil with the soil amendments, and we're talking through the entire bed.  If you're flower bed is large, it will take some time.

However, this is a good thing to do if you know you'll be filling the garden with lots of plants immediately, plus adding and transplanting more over time. In other words, if you will be actively working in this garden alot, then preparing the entire flower bed may be a good choice for you.

Now, you can do this the hard way (by manually turning over the dirt with a spade or shovel), or with a tool designed for this - a tiller.

Tillers are made for tilling the soil (obivously) but unless you have a farm, you don't need one pulled by a tractor, or even a large walk behind.

We've found the best tiller for small gardens. It's our go-to tool for preparing a flower bed. It's called a "Mantis" and you can find it in most garden centers.

The Step By Step Actual Process For Preparing Your Entire Flower Bed:

Step #1: Purchase your soil amendments or gather your compost if using.

Step #2: Spread these materials over the entire garden area. IMPORTANT: You DON'T WANT to remove ALL of the native soil and use amendments exclusively.  Your ratio of native soil to amendments should be approximately 50/50 or 70/30.

Step #3: Using your tiller, till the soil, mixing the amendents with the native soil. Depending on the size of your garden, this may take 15 minutes, 1/2 hour or more.    Don't till for a long time - just enough to get the soils mixed together evenly.

Step #4: Using a steel rake, rake the soil to even out the surface. The best result is to have your flower bed surface raised up slightly higher than the surrounding ground.  These "rasied beds" are a sure sign of a professional looking garden. This result will usually happen naturally, because you're adding stuff to the existing soil.

Pro Tip:

Note #1: Serious gardeners might recommend you get more specific with the type of amendments and the amount, but we've found this formula has always worked, time and time again, without the need for complicated math. Remember, gardening is never an exact science. The easier the better. That's what we want for you.

Note #2: Remember, just because you're adding nutrient rich amendments, doesn't mean it's good to go forever. Your plants will use up those nutrients over time, so adding additional fertilizer over time is a good thing to do.

Once your garden is even, you're ready to plant.

How To Prepare A Flower Bed Without Prepping The Entire Area (Shortcut Method):

Pro companies, espectially those working in shopping centers or office parts work with such large areas, it would be impossible to till up the enitre garden. They have another method.  You can do what they do, just on a much smaller scale.

Step #1:  Purchase your soil amendments or gather your compost if using.

Step #2:  Purchase the plants you'll be using.

Step #3:  Layout the plants in their pots, where they will be going. Move them around to get a good design

Step #4:  Using your garden spade or a shovel, mark a planting line 2 times the size of the pot.

Step #5:  Remove the pot, dig the hole so that the top of the plant is at the top of the surface of the garden when it's placed in the hole. Place the soil you just dug out next to the hole.

Step #6:  Scatter your soil amendments over the dug out soil in the correct ratio of native soil to soil amendments.

Step #7:   Fill the hole around the plant with the soil, mixing the soils together as you plant.

Step #8:  Repeat the process with the remaining plants.

Tips And Advice You Can Use When Planting Your Flower Gardens:

You probably noticed that this shortcut does not involve preparing any of the flower garden other than where the current plants are located. This means that, if you decide to plant other things later, you will need to mix in amendments where the new plants will be planted.

The bottom line is, you save time now, but it might mean more time later - or at least the time is spread out over several plantings, instead of doing it all at the beginning.

What's our preference?

We usually go the "short cut" route because tilling an entire garden is very time consuming and labor intensive and for us, it's no problem mixing more amendents into the garden later when we do more plantings. What you do is up to you.

If you're just beginning to get into gardening and want an overall guide to the different aspects of a beautiful landscape that looks like it was designed by a professional,  go here for more information.

We hope our guide on how to plant a flower bed was useful for you and is something you can actually use when planting your own gardens.

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