The Q&A Archives: Starting a Garden

Question: I recently purchased a house that has a wonderful spot for a garden. The only problem is that the couple that lived here before me did nothing to take care of the garden. There are weeds and grass growing over the garden area. Where do I begin? What is the first step to creating the garden again?

Answer: Your first order of business is to reclaim the area by either hand digging or rototilling the entire garden to remove the grasses and weeds. Rake out all the plant debris. The next step is optional, but highly recommended: spread a 3-4 inch layer of organic matter (compost, aged manure, shredded leaves, etc.) over the surface of the soil, then dig it in to a depth of 8-10". This organic matter will decompose during the season but as it does, it will release nutrients and will also help the soil retain moisture. After incorporating the organic matter, rake the area level and then plant your flowers or veggies. After planting, spread more organic matter over the bare soil to help suppress weeds and slow evaporation.

Best wishes with your new garden!

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