Grow Your Vegetables: Tips on Soil Preparation and Testing

You want to start a garden, but you’re not sure your yard has what it takes to grow vegetables. If you don’t test the soil before you start planting, you might find yourself with a garden that won’t grow. Worst of all, you won’t find out until you’ve spend a lot of time and money designing it. So, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before you get into it.

Bring Videos Out With You To Where You’ll Be Creating The Garden

It might help to download some user generated home gardening videos using a program like that found on so that you can watch the vids while you’re out in the yard trying to make your garden. Just make sure that you’re not downloading copyright- protected videos and Remember to respect IP. It’s entirely likely you’ll have to watch these videos multiple times before you start.

Testing The Soil

Test the soil using a tester kit so that you know what you’re up against. Some homeowners find that they have perfect soil. Others find that their home’s dirt is a little too sandy. If you need to add compost or top soil, you’ll want to know this before you start.

Building The Garden

• Mark It Off

Mark off the area you want to have as your garden. With a home garden, you’re probably better off with intensive cropping. This means that you design your garden as essentially one large row of a defined width and length as opposed to multiple rows with walking paths, like you would see on a commercial farm. Intensive cropping is a little easier to manage and allows you more crops per square foot.

• Create The Walls

Start with one one-foot-long 4×4 for the corner, 8 4-foot-long 2x6s for the sides, and 4 2-foot- long 2x2s for the center stakes. Put the 4x4s on each corner of the square. Then, pick a wall to start with and screw your first 2×6 to connect the corners together. Stack another 2×6 on top of the first. Keep going like this until the entire box is built. Make sure to use an angle square when you’re finished.

• Connect The Walls

Stand the side walls upright and opposite of each other. Make sure the posts on the posts are on the outside. Screw the two side rails to the posts to form the other walls of the raised bed.

• Square Everything Up

Measure the box diagonally in both directions to make sure the frame is square.

• Make It Sturdy

Use the 2×2 stakes and drive them into the middle point of all four of the outside walls.

Secure them with deck screws.

• Fill It With Soil

Dump the soil in. You’re ready to plant your crops. If your soil needed top soil or compost, add it now. Follow any manufacturer instructions you get with the soil. But, really, this isn’t too hard. Just dump the soil in. Once you’ve got everything set, you’re good to go.

Steven Young enjoys growing his own vegetables and flowers. He also enjoys teaching others about gardening.

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