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One Way To Prepare A New Garden Bed

Dallas Garden Buzz wants to be the blog that helps you achieve the garden results we all long for in North Texas.  We don’t want to be just a pretty face but hope to guide you through the garden seasons with advice you can use to prepare and plan your own successful gardens.  From time to time, we may share experience from gardens other than The Demonstration Garden to illustrate gardening technique of lessons we have learned.

My Mom asked me to oversee the installation of a new garden patch at her house. I arrived early  just in time to see a plot of grass approximately 4 feet wide and 14 feet long being extracted.  The old grass went to the back part of the yard where grass had died out.

Mom's Yard "Before"

 Mom  wanted a  garden bed wide enough for flowers and a few tomatoes in the sunniest part of her yard.  She is also a Dallas County Master Gardener, so we agreed to use the Earth-Kind bed preparation for this new garden.  We have used this recipe for soil improvement at  The Demonstration Garden.

To coax the clay soil into submission for her dream garden, we added  3 inches of compost and 3 inches of expanded shale.  Picture the new garden bed as a cake, think about frosting it with a 3 inch layer of compost and a 3 inch layer of expanded shale. Now till it in so that you have changed the structure of the top 12 inches of soil in your garden.

Expanded Shale and Compost Blended Together

(To make the process easier, Dallasites can purchase a  blend of these two products  in bulk at places like Soil Building Systems and Living Earth Technology under the product names of Clay Slayer or  Clay Killer.)  Buy six inches of the product to till into your garden soil (3 inches of compost and 3 inches of expanded shale equals 6 inches of the two combined).

To figure the cubic yards needed we multiplied the 14 feet x 4 feet x .50 feet and divided by 27.  If you want to skip the math, use the cubic yard calculator on the Soil Building Systems website.  For Mom’s garden one yard of the blended product was purchased and tilled into the plot.

Rototilling Expanded Shale and Compost Into The New Garden Bed

Now that the clay has been amended into luscious, friable garden soil, the garden is ready for planting and will be topped off with 3 inches of mulch

Mom, your dream has come true!

Ann

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