The Q&A Archives: converting a flower bed

Question: our raised flower bed is 10 X 3 feet. I'm changing it over to vegetables. In what way do I need to change the soil. Do I need to remove the soil and start over or just add to it. What would be the best way to supplement the soil for vegetables? Thank you.

Answer: You can enrich your soil over a period of years and end up with rich garden loam if you add organic matter. Start by removing all vegetation from the area and spreading 4-5 inches of organic matter over the vegetable bed. You can use compost, aged manure (fresh manure can be too hot and might contain weed seeds), shredded leaves or whatever organic matter is readily available in your local area. Dig or till this organic matter into the soil - 8-10 inches deep. Plant your veggies and mulch over the bare soil between the plants with additional organic matter. A 2-3 inch layer will help suppress weeds and slow water evaporation. At the end of the season dig the organic matter into the soil and add a fresh layer. Repeat this process annually and you'll end up with rich garden loam - and a spectacular vegetable garden. Hope you have a bountiful harvest!

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