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How to prepare garden beds for planting

Making garden beds can be a great way to get your hands dirty and exercise while enjoying the outdoors. Preparing garden beds for planting is an essential step in any gardening process. It allows you to dig up the soil, loosen it, and make it more suitable for different plants. The most common types of garden bed preparation are topsoil removal and subsoil removal. While the former involves digging up the top layer of soil, subsoil removal consists in digging deeper into the ground to remove a certain amount of subsoil to make room for a new layer of topsoil.


Know your soil type.

Before you plant, it’s essential to know your soil type. Soil comprises three layers: topsoil, subsoil, and bedrock. The top layer is the most important for gardeners because it contains the organic matter that helps plants grow. It also has the nutrients plants need for growth.

The subsoil contains minerals that help plants grow but are less accessible than those in the topsoil. The bedrock layer is made up of solid rock and contains no nutrients.

With this knowledge, you can create an appropriate plant planting environment by amending your soil with compost or other amendments like peat moss or vermiculite.

Know your climate

The first step in choosing the right plants for your garden is understanding the climate where they will be planted. If you live in a warm environment, you can grow plants that need full sun and heat throughout the year. If you live in a colder area, choose plants that tolerate cooler temperatures and less sunlight.

Choose native plants

Native plants have been grown in an area for centuries or even millennia. They are well-adapted to their environment, so they grow with little maintenance and help improve the soil by storing nutrients. Native plants also attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, which allows them to survive by spreading seeds from flower to flower.

Plant height

In general, shorter plants require less space than tall ones. For example, dwarf varieties of trees and shrubs may be only 2 or 3 feet tall, while trees can grow to 30 feet or more.

This is an important consideration when deciding whether or not to plant in a garden bed. Suppose you have limited space and want to plant a tree that will grow quite large. In that case, you might want to consider purchasing a potted specimen until your landscape design is complete and you have chosen a permanent location. Otherwise, you could constantly replant your tree as it grows out of its current pot and into the next one!


Plant type

The plant type is the first thing to consider when deciding what to plant in your garden bed. Are you going for a vegetable garden, an herb garden, or some combination of both?

If you are starting and want to try growing vegetables, you may want to start with some easy-to-grow plants like lettuce and radishes. These plants are quick to mature and will provide you with fresh food within a few weeks of planting. You can find great tips on growing these types of crops at any local nursery or online.

Herbs are another easy way to start your garden bed. They require less maintenance than vegetables and can be used in many recipes. Some commonly grown herbs include parsley, cilantro, basil, thyme, and rosemary.

 If you want to expand your garden, starting with easy-to-grow plants like lettuce and radishes is essential. These plants are quick to mature and will provide you with fresh food within a few weeks of planting.

Light requirements

The amount of light your garden receives can be essential in determining which plants are best suited for it. The light you get is determined by the time of day, the season, and the region in which you live. Even if your garden is shady, there are many options for growing vegetables and herbs.

Light intensity refers to how much light is per square foot (or meter). If you have a small garden or container planting, measuring this with a tool like a light meter is easy. In larger areas, it’s more challenging to determine. Instead, look at what other plants are growing nearby and see if they’re thriving or struggling. If they’re thriving, chances are good that your plants will do well too!

Some plants need full sun all day; others prefer partial or even total shade (where no direct sunlight reaches the ground). 

Water requirements

Plants need water to live and grow. Knowing how much water a plant needs and when to water will help you keep your garden healthy and beautiful.

The amount of water a plant needs depends on its type, size, location, and weather. Plants in containers need more frequent watering than plants in the ground, while plants with large or extensive root systems need less water than smaller plants with shallow roots.

In general, plants lose moisture through their leaves and by evaporation from their roots. Some plants may also lose water through their stems or fruit.

If you’re unsure whether your plants need water, check for these signs:

Browning on leaves is a sign of dehydration; wilting is another sign that needs immediate attention. Leaves should be green or dark green, with veins showing clearly against the lighter background color (if there is one). If leaves turn brown or yellow before they fall off, that’s an indication of over-fertilization or disease and not drought stress.


Soil requirements

A well-drained soil is essential for healthy vegetable plants. If you have clay, heavy clay, or sandy soil, add organic matter such as compost or peat moss to improve the texture and drainage. Leave it alone if you have light sandy or loamy soil that drains well. Avoid adding any amendments unless necessary.


A garden bed is also beneficial for those looking for an attractive landscape. The raised nature of the bed makes it easy to select the height at which you want to plant. Garden beds not only look good, but they also enhance the water drainage in your yard. Using a garden bed, you will experience reduced costs while creating a beautiful yard or garden area.


Gardening blogger

Meet Even, a distinguished collaborator at Green Giant. With over a decade of hands-on experience in the niche of raised garden bed cultivation, she brings an unparalleled depth of knowledge to our team. Her expertise, honed over years of experimental gardening, provides an insightful perspective on the practicalities and nuances of this unique form of horticulture.

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