Making sure your raised bed is properly prepared is one the most important things you can accomplish when getting started in your backyard garden. The structure of the soil and nutrient availability will give your garden everything it needs to express the gardens genetic potential to the fullest.

Soil that is not compacted with ample nutrients allows the plant roots to go to where they need to be with ease, all the while the nutrients will be available as the plant needs them while the roots travel through the soil. If you have gardened in the past you may have noticed that plantlets are very healthy when started in a flat with loose healthy soil then when they are transplanted to a plot that is full of chemical nutrients or ill prepared compacted soil they quickly loose vigor. Soon the plants will look nutrient deficient and will develop infestations of various pest due to the weak immune defense of the plant. Here is the play by play of what happens. The plant gets hit twice with shock during a transplant like this, once when the shoot is uprooted and the second in the extreme change of environment in the root zone. The plant will then have difficulty getting the roots through compacted soil and it will not have access to the food that it needs.

A little-known fact is that plants will begin to create carbohydrates and less proteins when planted in compacted soil.

These carbohydrates will draw pest as they are attracted to the sugars in the carbohydrates that the unhealthy plant is producing. Usually, this will draw the Gardner to use pesticides to kill off the attack when the pest simply could have been prevented with the proper soil preparation. No pesticides were ever needed just proper knowledge of plant care.  When the deadly pesticides are used the active ingredient also kills off the soil life as the product makes contact with the soil. Now with a damaged soil system due to the pesticides, the plant will look as though it is depleted in nutrients because the soil life can no longer break down the organic compounds into a food that the plants can use. The vicious downward cycle continues with the use of chemical fertilizers that are used to make up for the compromised soil life damaged by the pesticides.  A lot of these chemical pesticides kill not only the microbial life but also earthworms and other active life that is used to keep the soil in optimal conditions. It is this distrust in nature and a lack of knowledge of soil science that created these issue to begin with. In using chemical fertilizers and pesticides as shortcuts, a vacuum has occurred.  A vacuum that is reclaiming what was lost during the coarse of these actions. This has led to the current topsoil shortage the world will be forced to deal with in 6 decades.

The true goal is to produce a quality soil structure that will allow the plant to become what it’s DNA wants it to be. This can be a lot of work in the beginning but just know that the work is done upfront when double digging a raised beds. The work you are doing will save you in the future from needing to use fertilizers or pesticides simply by providing the correct soil structure for the plants. The time needed for your first 100 square foot bed can take up to 7 hours the first time dig it out. As you get better at the techniques you will use to create this ideal soil structure the time requirement can be reduced to 2 hours of steady work but again this is work.  Once the hard work is done to prepare your garden bed it should only take about on average 30 minutes each day to maintain your garden to optimal conditions up to 200 square feet. For a 100 square foot area, you are looking at less maintenance time. You will improve and the soil will improve both will allow you to produce more per square foot in your garden. We do recommend you start with a 100 square foot garden your first year using our system. Please keep in mind this is not going to be your normal mono-cropping raised garden bed.

Remember we are focused on limited gardening areas in the average suburban home so we are absolutely focused on yields per square foot of garden area as a target. Keep in mind we are talking a 5-10 year process to build up really good soil using the composting and management process we teach you at 3DAgronomics. Compared to nature this is a shortcut as it can take up to 2,000 years to create topsoil in nature. Your skills will improve with the soil…..just stay conncected to 3DAgronomics and we will show you how to do it. Stay tuned in for our next post in the techniques section of 3DAgronomics Magazine to discover the digging techniques used to create the ultimate garden soil structure.

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