The best time to start planting your spring garden in Central Austin is around mid March. Last year, 2012, was a little warm and I actually started planting the first week of March. Since the weather has been in the 30s and 40s at night I am waiting a couple weeks to start planting.
If you want to start plating your garden next weekend you have some digging to do!
Task 1: Get Supplies for your 4′ x 8′ Garden Bed
Here’s a list of the supplies you’ll need.
Double Dug Vs Raised Bed
Double digging is the process of removing the top layer of soil to the depth of your spade shovel (8” to 12”). Set the top layer aside then loosen the layer underneath with your garden fork. When putting the topsoil layer back incorporate compost.Having a double dug bed is better for water retention in your bed. The bed is insulated by the ground around it. This reduces temperature and prevents as much leakage and water loss due to evaporation.
Raised beds are small gardens built up off the ground usually contained by a barrier like stone or wood. These beds are often recommended if you have rocky soil. If you start digging down and hit a solid layer of rock this is the bed for you. Raised beds while still being laborious are less work in some instances than double digging.
Double Dug Supplies
Green Sand: One 8 lb bag should be enough to last you at least 2 years.
Expanded Shale: This is an optional amendment for added water retention. Anywhere from one to six 40 pound bags of Expanded Shale can be added to improve your soil.
Raised Bed Supplies 4′ x 8′ x 12″
Soil: One cubic yard of soil. I use the Rose Magic blend.
Make sure your raised bed is a minimum of 12″ deep or loosen soil underneath to create a depth of 12″ for the roots of your plants.
Need an expert to help? Seedlings Gardening is available for consultation or physical install.