Planting a raised bed does not have to be confusing or complicated. There are basically 5 steps to preparing the soil after you have the raised bed built. Clearing out any old rocks and debris, weed whacking all weeds to the ground, hand turning the soil, rototilling the soil, and raking smooth.
Once you have prepared the bed head over to read my post on the 5 Steps to Planting a Vegetable Garden in Raised Beds – Plants and Seeds and if you like to watch a video now you can watch my idea pin on Pinterest on planting a raised bed.
Steps to Preparing Raised Vegetable Garden bed for Spring Plantings
It’s important to prepare the soil before planting in a vegetable garden. If you’ve ever wondered how to simply prepare the soil for gardening, here are the basics.
- Clear all the soil of debris and rocks
- Weed Wack all weeds to the ground
- Hand turn over the soil
- Rototill the soil so it is light and fluffy – add in fertilizer if needed
- Rake the soil smooth
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission which helps keep my blog up and running but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Step 1 – Clear the Soil of Debris
The first step is to remove all the debris that may be left in the bed from last year. We store our tomato stakes and pepper cage right inside the raised bed and they need to be removed and inspected. Toss out any broken items that you will not use this year.
This year we found a beautiful pumpkin plant growing in one of the beds and moved it to a spot in the yard where it can grow freely.
In one of the other beds, sunflowers started to grow from seeds from last year’s sunflowers. We moved these to a side flower bed. They looked a little weepy at first but are growing just fine. Not all plants that grow up naturally will need to be discarded, enjoy what the land gives back.
Step 2 – Weed Wack All Weeds to the Ground
Weed your raised bed thoroughly before planting. You can do this with a hand weeder or a hoe, but it’s best to use your weed wacker and remove them to the ground. The weed wacker is the easiest and quickest way to chew up all the weeds that have popped up after the winter.
This will ensure that your vegetable plants are not competing with unwanted plants for nutrients and sunlight, which can stunt their growth and make them less productive.
Post Under construction: In the next post you will learn how we keep the weeds to almost zero and no weekly back-breaking weeding. But for now check out my Idea Pin on using farming plastic to keep the weed down.
Step 3 – Hand Turn the Soil
This step is the hardest and the most time-consuming. It is important to turn over the soil at least 6 to 8 inches over the entire bed. This can be done with a shovel, or you can use a pitchfork or other tool to break up clumps of soil and aerate the earth.
My husband and his father before him have always used a hand spade shovel as the one found here.
Step 4 – Rototill the soil so it is light and fluffy
In order to get your garden ready for planting, you’ll need to prepare the soil by Rototilling the soil so it is light and fluffy. This involves tilling or turning over the soil with a rotary tiller so that the soil is evenly mixed and aerated.
Rototilling helps to break up any large clumps of dirt or weeds in the soil, which allows water, air, and nutrients to get down into the roots of plants more easily. It also makes it easier for seeds to sprout when they’re planted because there aren’t any large rocks or roots in the way!
When you’re planting a garden, it’s important to keep in mind the big picture—you’ll have time for little details later on. Make sure to till your garden beds well so you can dig deeper and plant larger plants you get from the nursery or local big box garden center. It might take a bit more time at first, but your garden will flourish thanks to your efforts.
Step 5 – Rake the Soil Smooth & Level
The last step in the soil preparation process is to hand rake each raised bed’s soil Smooth & Level. This will help make your beds look nice and neat, and it also ensures that there are no clumps of dirt or other obstacles that could hinder the growth of your plants later on.
After you’ve tilled your raised bed’s soil, it’s time to smooth and level the soil.
To do this, use a hand rake. This gives you control over how much you’re leveling and smoothing the soil, which will make it easier for your plants to grow. Take your time and rake the ground in a gentle short motion to get the perfect soil for planting.
The process of hand raking is a balancing act. Don’t rush the process and do ½ to ¾ of the bed at a time. Raking with a purpose and careful consideration reduces unnecessary stress on the soil structure which makes it easier for planting afterward.
Now Your Raised Bed is Ready for Planting
Good job on building your raised bed! If you are growing a garden from scratch, this is a crucial step that sets you up for the long haul. There’s no need to rush the process; take your time and get it right.
Amazing! Your raised bed is set up. Let’s start planting and see what grows on your little journey. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us using one of our social media profiles listed below.