Preparing Vegetable Garden for Planting Out


Hi there.
About 6 weeks ago I dug up part of my lawn and made it into to a space for growing vegetables.
I had put a tarp over the area and about 2 weeks ago lifted the tarp , weeded anything left and dug in compost and some fertiliser then put the tarp back over it.

I am now about ready to transplant the plants I have been growing and am wondering what I should do with the new plot before planting out i.e. leave tarp off for a few day, water, turn soil over, mulch etc.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated .


Hello – I think you are ready to start planting – as soon as the weather permits for the types of plants you are growing.  You’ll want to hold off on the watering and mulching till after your plants are in the ground. You might want to do a light raking to smooth the surface of the bed in order to facilitate the planting – particularly if you have seeds to go in the ground.

Turning the soil any more than necessary can have detrimental effects on the soil structure and facilitates the growth of new weeds as their seeds are brought close to the surface.

If you haven’t already created a plan for your garden you might want to think about how to lay it out to maximize the efficiency of your space and the aesthetics of your garden.  Vegetables have traditionally been grown in rows at a set distance apart but can also be grown in 1 foot squares with the vegetables grown at the set distance in all directions.  The 1 foot squares are grouped into 4 foot by 4 foot squares so all of the vegetables can be tended without stepping into the bed and compacting the soil.  Paths are maintained between the 4 foot groups.  Not only does this method of planting allow you to maximize the growing space in your garden, the denser planting shades out a lot of the weeds making the ongoing maintenance of the garden easier.  There is an excellent book available by Mel Batholomew on this topic called ‘Square Foot Gardening’. Details on the 2nd edition of this book are included below. Enjoy growing vegetables in your new bed.

‘All New Square Foot Gardening: the Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space’, 2nd Edition, Mel Bartholomew, Rodale Press, 2013