|How should I start a garden from a bare patch of lawn that's 7' x 7'?
|I hope you like to dig! Seriously, the soil preparation is hard work but you'll be forever rewarded because your plants will grow better and require less remedial work later on.
First, dig up the soil (about 8 inches) and loosen the clods. Then spread several inches of organic matter, such as compost, composted manure, shredded leaves, leaf mold, etc., and till it under. After a couple of weeks, do a soil test to determine the pH of the soil and to see what nutrients are lacking. Many garden centers and nurseries provide this service. The results will come with recommendations about how to raise or lower the pH if necessary, as well as what nutrients to add to the soil. I prefer to add cottonseed meal or alfalfa meal to provide nitrogen, phosphate rock for phosphorus, and greensand for potassium. Instead, you could mix in some granular fertilizer, such as a 5-5-5 or 10-10-10. Now you're ready for planting!