The Q&A Archives: New to gardening

Question: I have a garden bed that has been neglected for a couple of years. Weeds have already started to grow. What step by step instructions do I need to take to restart the flower bed? I don't know where to begin as far as turning the dirt over. And I want to kill the weeds that are there.

Answer: There are a couple of options for you. You can kill the weeds with a vegetation killer (such as Round Up) and then rototill the area, raking out the dead vegetation, or you can simply rototill the area and rake out all of the weeds. I'd vote for the second option because once the ground is tilled and the weeds raked, you can plant immediately. With the chemical weed control, there is a waiting period before planting.

I would till the area, rake out the debris, spread 4-5" of organic matter over the top (compost, etc.) then dig it in to a depth of 8", rake the area level and plant. The organic matter will loosen the soil and help it hold moisture, making a great place for the roots of your new plants.

Choose plants that thrive in the sun exposure your new flower bed will receive. Whether it is full sun or part shade, you'll find lots and lots of plants adapted to the sun exposure.

Best wishes with your new flower garden!

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