*Beds are much easier to weed and maintain if you can get to the centre from each side. One metre wide is about right.
*I don’t double dig my beds…I’m far too old and lazy. I dig my beds to the depth of a garden fork and then bash the soil with the back of the fork to break it down…finally raking it to a fine a tilth. This process is always full of the promise of great things to come…I love it.
*If you have heavy clay then the best thing you can do is move house….or you can add heaps of organic material…home made compost is fantastic for this….don’t add too much manure or your plants will produce plenty of green growth but few flowers. Another option is raised beds. ….add some grit too…this will help with drainage.
*If your soil is wet then leave the digging until it dries out…otherwise you could damage the soil structure and make a hoofing great mess…stay inside and make a nice cup of tea…watch Bargain Hunt on the telly.
*If you sow your seeds in cold wet soil they will not germinate. There is little to be gained from sowing until the soil warms to about 7 degrees…for most of the UK this is around mid April.
*If you prepare your beds a couple of weeks before you sow them up you can allow the first flush of weeds to come through….these can easily be hoed off…this will make your life much more wonderful than it otherwise would have been.
*In a metre wide bed I sow three rows. I first take a taught piece of string down the centre of the bed and score a VERY shallow drill with a stick. Then a water the drill BEFORE I sow the seeds. Thirdly I sow seeds thinly in the drill and cover the drill LIGHTLY with soil… Then either side of that row I measure a foot apart and do exactly the same…ending up with three rows.
*The paths between the rows in the new lotty plot are 50 cm…in fact they have been made from metre wide weed fabric folded in two. (I may replace these at a later date as they look ugly as sin) If you have grass paths…make them the at least the width of your mower blades.
*Keep the beds gently watered…germination will take a couple of weeks for most annuals….some seeds may take much longer. Having sown in straight drills you will easily be able to see what is a weed and what is not. Keep on top of the weeding…weeds WILL arrive…I weed little and often.
*Once your seedlings are a few inches high you can add a mulch this will greatly assist you in keeping the weeds down and will also keep moisture in the bed.
Of all the above tips…not sowing too early is the most important…I have no desire to sell you seeds that then are left to rot in cold wet ground….and you being left bereft of flowers and getting all moody. ;)
PS Please visit my shop and buy some flower seeds. (Hard sell.)