How to prepare a garden bed for planting

The weather swings like crazy during spring in Montana; with it swings my mood. A couple of days ago I started a blog post about spring blues and yesterday I was giddy as a school girl working in my garden and vacuuming my home-sweet-camper.

When the wind is cold and relentless – I just want to hunker down and draw pictures with my kids, read books and drink tea. But yesterday, for just a few hours, it was misty and still. So. Lovely.

Stop and enjoy the ladybirds!

So I finished the work on a garden bed I started last week and I’m here to share the process.

You can see I plant in a wide row. It saves on space and is awesome for plant health, pollination and seed saving 🙂 I also have a potager-style garden in which I grow herbs, a few veggies (hoping the kids get on board with those this year), perennial flowers and wildflowers/native plants.

Flower vegetable garden prepare wide rows
First, I grabbed a few large stems and rocks that remained in the bed from last year. (You should know that I live on what use to be a river bottom, so I’m basically trying to farm a field of rocks. We put them to use everywhere as you’ll see.)

Flower vegetable garden prepare wide rows
Next add good compost. In this bed I experimented with Alpaca manure, which I’ve been told isn’t too hot to till in without composting. It was really handy and I’m tempted to get a hold of a BUNCH more but I need to wait and be doubly sure it’s not going to burn my plants.

Flower vegetable garden prepare wide rows
Lightly till or work in compost/manure. We love the idea of a no-till garden but it’s not realistic for us at the moment. We settle for as-little-tilling-as-possible gardening.

Flower vegetable garden prepare wide rows
Then, rake over the row. This evens out the soil and allows you to remove large chunks of anything that will get in the way. Leave any organic matter that’s not going to inhibit your plants’ growth. Also don’t worry about getting every rock. You obviously don’t want tons of rocks or large ones that will interfere with your tools.

If you’re laying down any form of drip irrigation, this is also the time that.

Black plastic in flower vegetable garden wide rows
Next, lay down any weedblocker or mulch you choose to use. For the time being, we use black plastic. I’d explain why but that’s a whole other post! If you use fabric precut or preburn your holes. We cut our plastic after we lay it down and we use rocks to secure it in place.

Black plastic cut, seeds sown and done!

Then, plant seeds accordingly. In this bed I planted several types of early season flowers. They’ll pop up when they darn well please and will hopefully boost my spring bouquet sales!

So…in case you missed the steps in all my jabbering, I made you a nice little pin:

What do you use for weed suppression? Comment or reply and tell us!

Peace ✌🏻

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