The Q&A Archives: Preparing the Garden Bed

Question: I am a beginning gardener and I would like some ideas on how to prepare the garden area I have for planting. It is fairly small, next to the house and it slopes away from the house. It is on the south side, however about 6 inches under the soil, there is a very deep gravel bed. Do I need to dig out the soil and gravel? If so, how much? And finally, what type of soil should I replace the gravel with? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you. Julie Wilt Bay Village, OH

Answer: If the soil is pure gravel, then digging out about 12" deep would be a good idea and replacing the gravel with topsoil. If the gravel is mixed with native soil then rather than digging out the soil and gravel, consider building some raised beds. These can be made by simply forming mounds of topsoil (which you will need to bring in from off site), or can be made by constructing low walls out of wood, stone, or concrete, then filled with topsoil. An 8" deep raised bed, combined with your 6" of topsoil, should give most garden annuals plenty of room..

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