Another Option for Preparing Your Garden Bed
Another option you have available to you is to smother the grass and weeds in the garden area. With this method, you don’t have to remove the weeds and grass and you don’t have to worry about loosening the dirt. On the downside, it can be a bit more expensive if you do not already have good soil available on your property.
To smother the dirt, you will need to place a thick layer of newspaper over the entire garden area. It will take about eight to ten sheets to make the newspaper thick enough. Then, wet the newspaper thoroughly and cover it with about four to six inches of good soil. You can get this soil from somewhere else on your property or you can purchase it from a nursery or other garden supply store.
The smother method works by preventing sunlight from reaching the weeds and grass. Eventually, the newspaper decomposes and the weeds and grass are killed off. Some weeds usually manage to poke through with this method, but they can be easily hand weeded out later.
Other Organic Additives
Your compost is also an excellent source of organic matter because it is made of dead plant material. Peat moss is another option for plant organic matter. It is inexpensive to purchase and is great at loosening clay dirt. Peat moss can, however, be very dusty.
Therefore, it is best to wet it before using it in order to make it easier to work with. Even grass clippings and other plant debris can be great for amending your soil, just be sure the plants and clippings you use do not have seeds. Otherwise, you will have a lot of weeding to do!
If it will be awhile before you plant your garden, you can also plant cover crops (also known as green manure) in your plot. Cover crops are plants, such as clover and vetch, that are planted and grown in a plot that will not be immediately used. These crops help keep the dirt loose and prevent weeds from growing. At the same time, they add nitrogen to the dirt and can be tilled directly into the ground when you are ready to plant.
Now that you have finished amending your dirt, we can officially start referring to it as soil! It has gone from being a brown, dirty mess that does not support a healthy and happy garden to soil that is ready to produce tasty veggies or beautiful flowers.