The Q&A Archives: Starting a new garden

Question: Good Morning from Atlanta!
I would like to start a vegetable garden this spring/summer. I am not really new to gardening but I need a few tips for dealing with Georgia Red Clay as I have moved to a different zone (recently moved from Northern Maryland). I have designated a spot on the west side of my house but it is sprinkled with huge pines and the spot has a ton of bushes (which I plan to dig up). My first question is, if there are bushes currently living in this space will this pose a problem with growing a garden there? Will the giant pines rob the garden of nutrients? When is the best time to start preparing this site for the upcoming spring season. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Answer: Dealing with the Georgia clay can be a daunting task, but one that is doable. Start by clearing the garden area of unwanted vegetation and then working some organic matter into the planting area. Spread 4-5 inches of compost or other organic matter over the planting bed and then dig it in to a depth of 8-10 inches. This will make a good base for your new veggie garden. After planting, add organic mulch over the bare earth to help suppress weeds. At the end of the gardening season, dig this mulch into the soil. After a few years of adding mulch, you should have fantastic soil!

Pine trees can cast shade, their roots will suck up soil moisture and their falling needles will raise the acidity of the soil. I'd strongly advise you to find a different spot for your garden.

Best wishes with your garden!

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