Building your soil-beds
The tools and materials you’ll need to accomplish this include:
- 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.
- Use the garden plan you’ve made in deciding where to place your soil-beds, then place stakes & string around the perimeter.
- Drive 18″-long stakes into the ground to identify the corners of each soil-bed, with 3’ to 3½’ aisles between.
- Tie nylon strings to the top of stakes on both sides of the beds. These will show the location of the raised ridges.
- 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.
- With a rake, pull 2″ to 3″ of soil from the center of each aisle into the staked-out area (Picture #4).