Creating a new garden bed


I live in the Beach, my back garden is partial shade. I have a large white oak tree on the north side of the property. The soil is sandy, dry. The garden to be created is west facing, & approximately 8 feet from the oak tree.
Last fall we had our back deck replaced, I had to remove all plantings in a garden bed 10 feet long by 5 feet wide in front of the deck. I would like to recreate this garden but the soil has been compacted by the workman. Do I need to double dig, to create a new bed? Kindly advise.


Compacted soil after workmen treading back and forth is something a lot of us gardeners have had to face at one time or another.  The good news for you is that you’re in the Beach neighbourhood where the underlying soil is sandy, and sandy soil is loose, airy, doesn’t clump and has great drainage.  My advice is to mark out your desired garden bed, then using a fork work through it roughly just to loosen it up, no need to dig or double dig – we want to save your back as well as those soil microorganisms.  If you find you need to raise the soil level, after the construction, then you may need to source some good quality topsoil.  The addition of organic matter in the form of well rotted compost, sheep manure, mushroom compost or worm castings on top after this should give you the planting medium you need.  Once you have planted your garden, I would suggest you topdress with 2 inches of mulch in order to keep down weeds and help with moisture retention.

Hope this helps.