Making a new garden bed can seem like a monumental, labor intensive task, but it doesn’t have to be. There are several minimal labor ways to make a new bed. My favorite begins with a hose and old newspaper and/or cardboard.
Siting a New Garden
The best place to put a vegetable garden is close to the house where there is good sun, ideally a spot that gets southern exposure. Check out where the sun falls throughout a sunny day to see where the best locations are in your yard. Don’t be concerned if your garden spot gets some shade each day. Fruiting vegetables need the most sun, 6-8 hours.
Root vegetables require less and leafy vegetables require the least. Leafy vegetables appreciate getting afternoon shade in the hot days of summer. I have a spot on the northeast side of the house that I like to put leafy greens. It gets the morning sun, but the cool afternoon shade. This allows us to grow lettuce through the summer.
Once you have picked out a spot, you can use a hose to lay out what you want the bed to look like. We then use a spray can of landscaping paint to paint out the edges of the bed.
Transforming Lawn to Garden
The easiest next step is to cut the grass inside your new bed as short as possible. Then lay several layers of newspaper or cardboard over the top of the closely sheared grass and cover with compost then mulch. Now, just let the bed lay until the grass dies. The grass and its roots adds organic matter to the soil as well. Test the soil before planting to see what nutrients you need to add. Use a balanced fertilizer when you plant.