The first step in making a garden is a place to grow your plants. Find an area that is nice and flat. If you cant, then dig away dirt until you have a level surface. As you can see in the picture below, make sure there are some grooves in the ground in which the box can fit into.
Next, build the planter box itself. Ensure that the box is large enough to grow many different plants as you want, because one large box is always much easier to construct and maintain than a few smaller boxes. Place the box in the area you cleared out earlier and use a level to ensure that the box is properly positioned.
After the box is in place, use a large sheet of chicken wire to cover the ground inside the box as well as the first few bottom inches of the box to ensure that small animals can’t make their way around it. Read my earlier post, Weeds n’ Critters, to know of the nightmares that come from not adding these defensive measures.
Its soil time! First begin by gathering all the ingredients: topsoil, vermiculite, bat guano, chicken/horse manure, alfalfa meal, garden compost, sphagnum peat moss, and earthworm castings.
Add a large heap of topsoil, compost, peat moss, compost, and vermiculite, followed by smaller portions of alfalfa, manure, earthworm castings, and guano.
Try not to add giant amounts, as you will have to mix this together, so going incrementally is much easier. If you empty every bag you have into the box, mixing will be a nightmare. I’m not sure what Arnold Schwarzenegger’s day rate is, but you’re going to need some muscle to move that much material. Continue adding and mixing the ingredients, making sure to spread everything out as much as possible and flattening the mixture out before you add the next group of ingredients. I ran out of many of the materials a few inches from the top of the box, so I will have to complete my bed tomorrow.
After you have completely filled the box, make sure you water it plenty. How ever much water you think the box will take, go ahead and put five times that amount into the box. As you water, it will be soaked up very very fast, almost as if it were draining through a sink. Once the soil is moist and compacted, it should be ready for your plants!!!