Building your soil-beds

The tools and materials you’ll need to accomplish this include:Corner Stakes

  • Four 18″ wooden or metal stakes for each soil-bed.
  • Two nylon or plastic strings two feet longer than each soil-bed.
  • A hammer, and if soils are very hard, a pick ax.
  • Mineral nutrients if available – see Feeding Your Plants for quantities.
  1. Use the garden plan you’ve made in deciding where to place your soil-beds, then place stakes & string around the perimeter.
  2. Drive 18″-long stakes into the ground to identify the corners of each soil-bed, with 3’ to 3½’ aisles between.
  3. Raised RidgesTie nylon strings to the top of stakes on both sides of the beds. These will show the location of the raised ridges.
  4. Apply and mix minerals with the soil-bed soil to a depth of 6″ to 8″ as follows:
    • Lime – 10 ounces for a 10’-long bed (gypsum if you receive less than 20″ of annual rainfall). Mix with magnesium (Epsom Salts), and boron (20 Mule Team Borax) in an 80-4-1 ratio.
    • Other nutrients – 5 ounces for a 10’-long bed of a balanced growing mix that includes NPK, magnesium, and micro-nutrients (you’ll learn how to make this in the Feeding Your Plants section).
    • Sterilized manure or compost – if commercial nutrients are unavailable. Apply ½” deep.
  5. With a rake, pull 2″ to 3″ of soil from the center of each aisle into the staked-out area (Picture #4).

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