The Q&A Archives: Old Sand Box As Raised Bed

Question: I have an old sand box that I would like to use for a vegetable garden. It has a little sand left in the bottom, with landscape paper on the very bottom. I have weeded it and noticed small ants. How should I prepare the box for a small garden and how thick does the soil need to be to start plants in? The sides of the box are six inches deep. Should I use something to get rid of the ants or will they go away if I have to remove the sand?

Answer: Annual plants have root systems that go about 12 inches deep. Since your box is only 6 inches deep, I'd suggest building it up somehow, or taking out the bottom and then digging/loosening the soil underneath it for at least 6 inches. Your goal is to have loose, arable soil that roots can easily penetrate.

Ants are good soil builders, aerating and decomposing organic matter, so I would let them remain.

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