You can build a planting bed in less than one day, depending on its size. Two similar methods have been developed that will allow you to plant almost any plant as soon as you finish preparing your garden area. Lasagna gardening is quick and easy. With this method you simply pile up layers of organic materials on top of lawn or a weedy area. The biointensive method can take a little longer, but when your bed is finished, you'll have a rich growing area that will support more plants than other areas.
Creating a Lasagna Planting Bed
Plan your planting bed on paper before you start digging. Make your planting beds about three feet wide by six or more feet long to allow access so you'll never need to step on your beds.
Chop down all weeds and then spread flattened cardboard or newspaper on top of the bed area.
Layer organic materials such as compost, peat moss, wood ash and topsoil on top of the planting bed. Water it well.
Plant small plants by digging holes through the fluffy layers and down through the cardboard or newspaper if your bed is not deep. The deeper you make it, the better your plants will thrive.
Creating a Biointensive Planting Bed
Soak the soil in your planting bed area for two hours and then let it sit for two days.
Loosen the soil to a depth of one foot with a spading fork, being sure to remove all weeds and other unwanted plants.
Cover your planting area with one inch of compost, water it well and let it sit for one day.
Double dig the bed by digging down two shovelheads deep throughout the entire planting bed.
Mix in organic materials, such as more compost, blood and bone meal, grass clippings and other materials, with your spading fork. You can then plant seeds or seedlings in this bed.
About this Author
Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi‘iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Barbara wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides.com and eHow.com. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.