Creating a new planting bed is relatively straightforward but the secret to successful planting is very good ground preparation.
- The first task in ground preparation, is the removal of any existing grass or weed. This can be easily done by manual means (digging out) or alternatively a less physically demanding method is to carefully spray the area during dry conditions with a proprietary systemic herbicide/weedkiller. This type is formulated to kill the plant above the ground and also the root system. Check the product label for details, but typically, herbicide usually take 7-10 days to completely kill all unwanted plant matter. Very heavily infested areas may require a second application.
- Dig the area several times or alternatively use a rotavator, remove any large stones and debris. Add suitable soil conditioner (peat free compost, well rotted manure) to improve soil conditions and rake to produce a fine tilth. Next add suitable fertiliser. Ground is now ready for planting.
- Some gardeners may wish to consider making provision for controlling future weed growth within the planted area, cover the area with a suitable horticultural weed barrier/permeable membrane. Avoid using plastic sheeting as this will inhibit the plant roots from accessing valuable oxygen and water which are essential for good plant development. Membrane should be well secured using fixing pegs especially along the perimeter. For a neater stronger finish and avoid any cut edges becoming frayed or visible, turn edges under before fixing pegs.
- To plant through membrane, use a sharp knife to cut two lines ‘X’, turn back membrane, remove soil to create a planting hole, insert plant and secure using excavated soil, firm soil around plant ensuring plant is secure in ground. Fold back membrane around the plant. Water all plants well and apply a generous mulch of your preferred topdressing (bark, stone chippings etc).