Just say no to “urban hard pack” soil

The longer I have worked my garden organically the more I realize that gardening success starts with soil management. My first attempts at gardening were hours of digging in the hot sun in the hard-packed “urban soil” (UHP) that used to be the lawn in my backyard. Now, I don’t even try. 

Instead, a new garden plot in my yard starts with some 2×10 lumber that I make into a garden frame measuring 4′ by 6′ (10″ deep). I slap that baby on top of the UHP soil and load it up with some nice, soft, black organic compost.

If it’s the wet season (winter, in California) I’ll spend some time digging a bit deeper to mix some of the urban soil with the new compost, but that’s too hard in the summer. Most plants are happy with 10″ of rich loamy compost. I do have some weed-block fabric that I’ve used but even the bermuda grass has a hard time coming up through 10″ of compost.

Say yes to soft compost raised beds and NO to hard urban soil! You’ll be amazed at how large and healthy your plants will be!


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