Answer: Creating a healthy garden may seem like a daunting task at first, but there are only a few rules. To begin with, you'll need some healthy soil. Garden soil that is rich, loose and well draining will keep your plants healthy. Stake out your garden area and remove all vegetation. I prefer to dig and hoe so I can get the roots of the weeds as well as the top growth. Or, you could use a vegetation killer such as Round-Up (be sure to follow label directions). Once you've killed the weeds, etc., you'll want to dig them out roots and all. (This is why I forego the use of herbicides and simply dig everything out by hand.) When the area is free of vegetation, spread 4-5" of organic matter over the top of the soil and dig it in to a depth of aobut 8". I use compost but you could use aged-manure; either will help loosen the soil and will add nutrients as it decomposes. Rake the area level and then plant your flowers or veggies. Cover any bare soil with another 2-3" of organic matter to serve as a mulch. Mulches help suppress weeds, moderate soil temperatures, and slow water evaporation. There are many books on the subject at your local library if you want to do more research.
When choosing plants, be sure to choose those that grow well in the sun exposure your new garden will provide.
Best wishes with your new garden!
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