Don’t you just feel cheered up when looking at a riot of colors while sipping tea on your porch? Visual appearance is the least of your concern when it comes to growing your own flower garden. While many find joy in adding landscaping appeal to their property, flower gardening can actually enhance one’s emotional well-being. Oh well, it is also good stress-busting exercise too! But before enjoying those fragrant and enticing blooms, it is imperative to learn the proper way of how to prepare a garden bed for flowers.
Making your garden bed for the first time is quite overwhelming. There is so much to know and sometimes, gardening jargon can be quite hard to fathom. But like everything else, learning to “make your bed” can be quite uplifting albeit rigorous. To get you started, here are some general guidelines when making your bed that has never been planted before.
1. Certain Precautions. First things first– it is important to exercise caution when prepping your flower bed for the first time. Whether you plan to grow perennials or annuals, tree or shrub, always take time to check for any utility lines buried in your property. From gas to electricity to cable or even irrigation lines, a local office usually handles information pertaining to them. So, always take time to verify to prevent undue accident.
2. Choose and Eliminate. Start by choosing the area and eliminating any existing vegetation therein. It is also highly recommended to start making your bed in the fall. Remove weeds and other herbaceous plants which may have thrived in your chosen area. Prune nonsensical shrubs or woody elements. Begin by outlining the bed’s area. Place a makeshift outline of your bed using a garden hose or a rope. These materials will make it easier for you to project the shape and the size you want.
3. Cover It Up. Once the shape and size had been identified, carefully stack at least 5 layers of black-and-white newspaper on top of the area. Top this up with a thick 2 to 3 inches of compost. The best ones are organic like manure or your homemade compost from kitchen waste. The newspaper will block any form of sunlight and the compost on top will help stimulate decomposition. In the fall, you’ll have no weeds and a thicker compost.
4. Easy Way Out. When it’s no longer fall or winter season, or when you feel like starting soon, your good old herbicide can do the trick. The Nature’s Avenger Organic Weed Killer Concentrate, for instance, is an organic form of herbicide that eliminates the unwanted elements in your flower bed. Its active D-limonene compound from oranges and lemons will ultimately help ease your way to eliminating grasses, weeds, broadleaves and other elements on your flower bed. As a rule of thumb, always choose organic as some herbicides can remain active in the soil after application.
5. Turn It Over. Check if the existing vegetation has already been dead then, turn the bed over using a shovel or a spade–depending on its size. Work it while damp but not soaking wet or you may risk clumping. Do it dry and you’ll find blisters from all that digging while putting undue stress to the soil. If you may, turn the soil to around 18 inches deep for better results. Tilling is also a good idea, that is, if you want it easy.
6. Compost It. Now, spread a 2 to 3-inch layer of compost on the turned-over bed. Mix the compost with the existing soil. Compost usually provides added nutrients to the soil thereby, improving its structure. Steer clear of extremely fine compost though as it can breakdown easily. Check with a local gardening store or check out this one from Amazon– Wakefield Biochar Soil Conditioner. Level the soil by raking it.
7. Forward, mulch! You may also be aghast to learn that weed seeds will be exposed after turning the soil over. This seeds will then germinate resulting to new headaches. To prevent this, apply thick mulch over the bed. You may also use a weed killer like the Roundup Concentrate Extended Control Weed & Grass Killer Plus Weed Preventer II to hasten the process. Do remember to read the directions thoroughly. You would not want to damage the roots.
8. Weed Killer Alert! When using the Roundup Concentrate Extended Control Weed & Grass Killer Plus Weed Preventer II, remember to NOT sow flower seeds directly to the soil. The weed killer will ultimately eliminate ALL germinating seeds. Put the plants first in packs or pots. Plant them into the bed when spring comes. Chemicals would have broken down by then.
9. Or, Sweat It Out. Don’t want to use a weed killer? Then, simply wait for the weeds seeds to germinate and grow. Pull them as soon as they reach 2 to 3 inches as it will be easier to grasp them. It’s not only proven safe but also good exercise.
10. Compost Again. When all the pre-planted flowers have been placed into the newly-made bed, it is time to add a layer of mulch or compost to it. This will not only prevent weeds from growing but also helps maintain soil moisture and a more pleasing look to it.
Truly, knowing how to prepare a garden bed for flowers can be a rigorous task. Passionate as you are to gardening, starting out with a single flower bed will ultimately lead to more bed prepping in the future. Simply keep this guideline in mind to truly grow a flower garden that blooms.