Garden Design

Garden Design Site Selection - Organic pest control, Organic garden.

Garden Design

Garden Design, Organic Garden, Organic pest control. We will help you with site selection and site preparation of your site for an ideal organic garden.

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Select a site that has good exposure to the sun. The more the better, but be assured of 8 to 10 hours per day in the middle of the summer.

Make sure there are no structures or large trees or large bushes that will block out sunlight.

Do not locate your garden near a Walnut Tree, especially a Black Walnut Tree. These trees produce a substance called juglone in both the roots of the tree and higher concentrations in the walnut husks and to a lesser extent the leaves.

Vegetables susceptible to juglone include tomatoes, potatoes, pepper and eggplants. These plants will experience reduced growth, wilting and possible death.

Keep your garden at least 2 to 3 times the distance from the Walnut Tree to the drip line to minimize these effects.

Garden Design - The Final Two Tests:

Before you make your final decision as to where your garden will be, make these final tests. Dig a hole and fill it with water. If the water takes a long time (say an hour or two) to percolate into the ground, then you probably have a soil with high clay content.

If you have alternative sites that are not clay-based you should choose them, as the work involved in constructing a garden in clay, and making it plantable, is considerable, but do-able.

Now get yourself a Soil Test Kit and check the soil PH of your chosen site. Normal PH would be from about 6.5 to 7.5. If your PH is below this you have an acid soil and if it is above you have alkaline soil.

Your goal is to get into that 6.5 to 7.5 range which will allow for excellent nutrient uptake. Refer to the article on Garden Soil Management for more information on PH, tables showing what nutrients remain soluble and at what PH levels.

Garden Design - Preparation of the Soil:

If you want to have a well-producing garden, you have to keep it free of weeds and initially you have to work the nutrients into the soil, as well as oxygen for good root formation. The best possible way to do this is by the purchase a good rear-tine Roto-Tiller.

The Roto-Tiller that I purchased is made by Troy-Bilt and I consider it to be one of the best. The Troy-Bilt is sturdy and does not throw you all over the place like a bucking bronco. I operate mine with just 3 fingers to guide it. The tiller does the rest. It cuts down into the soil about 8 to 12" and gives nice fluffy soil, just right from planting.

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Garden Design -Get Rid Of The Weeds

First roto-till the entire garden plot. Remove as many of the weeds as possible by hand and do not throw them on your compost pile. If you till early in the season place a tarp over the entire garden area to kill any remaining weeds.

Keep on top of the weeds by pulling them as soon as you see them and never let them go to seed.

If your plot has heavy weed and or lawn growth on it you will need to set a Tarpaulin to cover the entire site until everything is completely dead. Then roto-till the entire area 3 to 6 times to work in all the sod and debris. Go over the entire area and remove large weeds and any other rocks or stones you may find, and make one final pass with the roto-tiller.

It is best to start with the Roto-Tiller set to a shallow cut - say 4" for the first pass and progressively work your way down to the full cutting depth of the tiller. Believe me, this tiller will make short work of this chore for you.


Mark out your garden, with the number of rows you want to plant. Use string for this. Allow enough room between rows to till with your Roto-Tiller during the season. This would put the rows about 2'-8" to 3'-0" o.c. If you are interested in giving an interesting prominence in your yard, read the next article on Garden Design Ideas.

Over each string, which represents the row, place compost to about 2 or 3" in depth and 12" in width and then manure about 2" thick over that. Take your Roto-Tiller and till this into your soil thoroughly, about 2 times. That will work it thoroughly into the soil.

Lightly Sprinkle Your Tilled Area

Garden Design - Lightly Sprinkle Your Garden

Garden Design - Lightly Sprinkle The Garden Area

When you have done this with all the rows, set a sprinkler to lightly saturate the soil. Let it set overnight.

Now you are ready to plant your seeds. Be sure you follow the instructions exactly on the seed packages to plant your seeds. If you want to keep weeds down between the rows, roll out Landscape Fabric between the rows. You can place mulch or 2"x walkway planks to hold down the fabric. If you choose to roto-till next to the rows instead of the fabric, you can just roto-till the entire width of the row path.

Garden Design - Spring Preparation of an Established Garden:

Don't make the mistake of preparing your garden soil too early in the spring. Usually there is too much soil saturation and or big clumps of snow and ice in the soil to make this possible. Also you run the risk of compacting the soil when it is super saturated.

So leave the soil dry and then roto-till the soil to aerate it very well. Test the moisture of the soil by grabbing a handful and making a ball. If the ball crumbles easily the soil is dry enough. If not wait a bit and try again.