The Q&A Archives: Starting New Vegetable Garden

Question: I just moved into a brand new home and would like to know how to prepare the soil for planting a vegetable garden.

Answer: The secret to a great garden is soil that's light, loose, and full of organic matter. It's an annual process, not a one-time effort. As you grow crops to harvest, you can continually amend the soil, to return the minerals depleted by the crops, and to help build up the organic content. Begin by removing weeds, debris, and as many rocks as you find. Then spread 4-5 inches of organic matter over the top of the soil and dig it in 10-12 inches. After sowing seeds or placing transplants in your new garden bed, cover the bare soil with compost or other organic matter to help hold in moisture and to suppress weeds. Dig it into the soil at the end of the season and plant a cover crop. In a few short years you'll have wonderfully rich soil in your garden to help your plants produce bumper crops of delicious vegetables.

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