Annual bedding plants, planted in properly prepared beds, are the perfect choice for adding splashes of seasonal, vibrant color in your landscape garden. Most all annual bedding plants prefer good drainage, so the best way to plant them in the garden is in "raised beds", or "raised mounds". Raised beds do not require edging or lumber, though edging may help to define the bed. Below is a diagram with step-by-step instructions that can help you create the best performing and best looking flower beds in the neighborhood!
Step-By-Step Instructions For Building A Raised Flower Bed
Tools you'll need to build a raised(mounded) annual flower bed:
- Garden Rake / Hard Rake
- Round Point or Flat Shovel
- Leaf Rake
- Tiller (Optional)
STEP 1 - Start by outlining the shape of your new flower bed on the ground with spray paint, flour or a garden house. You can create any shape you want: round, pie-shape, square, rectangular, triangular, peanut, kidney bean, oblong, etc..
STEP 2 - Then spray any grass or weeds growing inside the outlined area with a solution of glyphosphate, such as Killzall or Roundup. Wet all foliage of grass and weeds thoroughly with weed killer allowing 2 hours to dry completely. Always wear protective clothing and eyewear when spraying any chemical.
STEP 3 - Using a pointed shovel, trench around the outline of the flower bed to a depth of about 6", throwing dirt from trench into a pile at the center of the flower bed.
STEP 4 - Now, mix in equal amounts of a light professional potting or planting mix and a soil conditioner or compost, such as mushroom compost or composted cow manure, with the soil removed from the trench. For larger beds, it will be necessary to bring in extra native top soil to raise your annual flower bed to at minumum of 6" height at the center of the bed, gradually tapering the mound to ground level at the perimeter. You may also add other ammendments to the mix, such as vermiculite, cottonseed meal, fish emulsion ect..
STEP 5 - After thoroughly mixing the native and/or screened top soil with the ammendments, use a hard rake (garden rake) to taper and smooth mound.Tip:Rake from the trench towards the center of the bed to create the mound. A leaf rake can be used to put the finishing smooth touch on the mound. Now you are ready to plant.
STEP 6 - Remove plants from containers and space them (as directed on plant tag) over the surface of bed. Start with a row around perimeter of bed. Then stagger plants towards the inside of the perimeter row, and so on towards the center until the bed is full.
STEP 7 - Use a hand trowel or shovel to plant bedding plants. Its a good idea to loosen roots at the bottom of the root ball or plug before planting. When planting, use hand trowel to dig a hole only as deep as the root ball is tall. Drop rootball in hole and gently pack in soil to fill.
STEP 8 - When you have finished planting, you can broadcast weed preventer granules, such as Treflan, over suface of bed for season-long weed prevention.
STEP 9 - Fertilize your new flower bed with a granular flower food. Pansies, a winter flowering bedding plant, should be fertilized with a specialty Pansy Food every 4 weeks.
NOTE - If you are really serious about the performance of your annual bedding plants, get a professional soil test through your Local Extension Service. This will tell you two critical details about your soil quality; pH and fertilizer needs. For many bedding plants, ideal soil pH is between 5.6 and 5.8.