Create the Bed
To lay out your bed, use a garden hose to mark the outline. (Sprinkle flour along the hose for a temporary
mark.). Using a sharp spade, dig along the marked line to set the edge of your bed.
If the spot is currently covered by lawn, remove the sod using a straight-edged shovel or sod cutter. To make
this easier, wet the area thoroughly, then use the shovel to cut the lawn into strips that are the width of the
shovel and about 3 feet long. (Sharpen the edge of your shovel frequently with a file.) Use the shovel to pry
up and roll back the strips of sod. Once the sod is removed, loosen the underlying soil with a shovel or a
Regardless of how you prepare your bed, use this opportunity to mix in organic matter (such as compost,
peat moss, or rotted manure) and loosen the soil at least 6 inches deep. Don’t mix in fertilizer unless your
soil test shows a need; in general, excessive amounts of fertilizer will do more harm than good.
After your bed is prepared, water it thoroughly and wait a week. This will allow weed seeds to germinate. Pull
these seedlings or dig them back into the soil. Or spray them with an herbicide. Follow the instructions on the
packaging, including the time to wait after application before planting.