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Perpare Your Raised Beds for Spring

April 1, 2013

Mike prepares our edible gardens for spring. These beds are on a green roof, showing you can grow food almost anywhere!

Now that the days are warming up, as soon as the ground is thawed we can take the chance to get out in the garden and start preparing the vegetable beds!  The success of your garden depends on the health of your soil, so it’s important to make sure it’s in good shape before planting.

The first step is cleaning your beds- pull weeds that have appeared over the winter, and any leftover vegetable plants from seasons past. Once the beds are nice and clean, it’s time to improve the health of your soil with a soil amendment, ensuring the soil has all the nutrients your vegetables will need to grow.  Phipps’ display horticulturist Mike, who tends to our edible garden, uses mushroom manure on the outdoor vegetable beds at Phipps.  He applies a layer at least an inch thick on top of the existing soil, uses a four pronged rake to work it into the bed, then smooths it out with a regular hand rake so there’s a nice surface to plant.

Mushroom manure is a good choice as it has all the basic nutrients and essential trace elements for healthy soil, is inexpensive when purchased in bulk, and can be found at most garden supply stores.  However, there are other soil amendments to choose from, like garden compost and organic granular fertilizers.  Pick the one that is best suited for your particular garden, and get it in the ground!  Your plants will thank you, and you’ll reap the rewards.

For local sources of soil amendments, see our Garden Resources page.

You can also read this Soil Biology Primer for a detailed look at the role soil organisms play in the health of our plants.

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