All gardens require soil – whether it is open space outdoors or for container planting. Be selective of the area plants will be grown, taking into consideration sunlight, moisture, nutrients and drainage. The preparation of the soil will vary depending on the type of garden you will be establishing.
- Clear the land of stones and tins leaving a free area in which to grow crops. Stones may be repurposed for building walls, garden accents or pathway guides.
- Fork the soil to a depth of 25-30 centimetres (10-12 inches) breaking up large particles.
- Make sure to remove weeds and roots.
- Add manure, compost, ground bark and fertilisers to the prepared soil. This is most important for sandy or clay soils.
- Make raised beds 90 cm (3 ft.) and 20 – 30 cm (8 – 12 in.) wide high.
- Provide a perimeter of protection for the plants against animals and pests, with fencing, garlic, marigold or human hair. The scents act as insect repellents or indicate the presence of humans scaring away small animals.
- Mix together one part sand, two parts clean loamy soil, one part coir/ bark and one part broken down manure. This will create a potting medium that will encourage drainage.
- Cover the bottom of the container first with small stones, then grass cuttings to prevent the soil from washing out.
- Partially fill the container with the mixed soil or potting mixture. Most commercial potting mixtures are already sterilized.
- Pour boiling water over the soil to kill pests and some disease organism.
- Ensure soil has cooled and drained before planting.
- Have plastic or mulch on hand to cover the soil after planting to retain moisture and reduce the presence of weeds.