4 things to consider when preparing the perfect garden site

Once you've decided where you're going to set up your garden, there is preparatory work to be done. The garden site needs to be cleared of rocks, plants, weeds, lawn, undergrowth and all garbage. Here are some more steps for preparing the perfect home garden.

4 things to consider when preparing the perfect garden site

Removing and relocating plants and trees

  • In some, particularly suburban, areas municipal permission must be granted to remove trees over a certain height.
  • In rural areas, even if permission is not required, trees should not be cleared without some thought as to their conservation value and the effect their removal may have on the soil.
  • Where possible, consider relocating plants.
  • For trees and shrubs that must be cleared, remove all roots to free the soil in readiness for the garden.
  • If possible, contact local organizations for guidance on rural land management and methods of creating a garden that does not threaten the surrounding native vegetation.

 

 

 

Removing weeds

  • Weeds should be eradicated before the garden is established, as they will become a persistent nuisance if given the chance to multiply.
  • Annual weeds that carry their seed in their flowerheads, such as chickweed, should be lifted before they have an opportunity to produce seed.
  • Deep-rooted weeds such as dandelion should be lifted completely with their deep tap roots.
  • Weeds with creeping roots such as buttercup are always hard to eradicate because the entire root system needs to be lifted.
  • Avoid using chemical herbicides on ground where food crops are to be grown; instead, undertake systematic hand-weeding.
  • Be prepared to invest labour in this chore in order to break the regeneration cycle of the weeds.

Removing rock

  • If you need to clear away surface or underground rock, favour removal by hand wherever possible.
  • A small backhoe or other earth-moving machine may be required to shift troublesome stones and rocks, but the equipment may cause some undesirable compaction of the soil structure.
  • Large rocks and stones are valuable so set them aside for later use in built-up beds, retaining walls or terraced gardens.

Converting lawn to garden beds

  • Suburban vegetable gardens are often created in areas that were once lawn.
  • Lawn can be lifted, square by square, and either used as turf in another part of the garden or turned over (root side up) and left to break down as compost.
  • The lawn can be ploughed into the ground using a rotary hoe or tiller (or a spade if you have plenty of muscle power and energy).
  • Turning the lawn into the soil should be done several months before the start of the first growing season, as it may regrow and require further hoeing. When using this method, spread a thick layer of manure over the ground after any second hoeing and allow it to break down properly before planting begins.

By following these simple steps, you can take a new look at your landscape and plan accordingly to create the perfect garden of your dreams.

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