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17 September 2014
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how to be a gardener - The complete online guide

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4 - Preparing the ground
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WheelbarrowPreparing the ground
To give plants a good start in life its essential to provide well-prepared, fertile soil.

The amount of soil preparation will depend on what you’re faced with. You may have a garden that just needs lots of weeding; your completely new garden may have a layer of topsoil hiding piles of builders’ rubble; or you may want to remove areas of lawn to make space for more plants.
Whatever your scenario, the cure is the same - elbow grease. It may not be an attractive proposition, but, believe me, time spent doing the ground work will repay you a hundredfold in lower maintenance once the garden is up and running.
Garden preparationThe first step is to get rid of the rubbish and dig out tired old shrubs and weeds, especially perennial weeds such as thistle, nettle, bindweed, ground elder and couch grass. Remove all parts of the roots: rhizome, tap root and bits of brick bat. But, don’t be over hasty. Keep an eye out for surviving plants. This is especially important in winter when they may be ‘resting’ below ground. Let them grow, and if they’re no good take them out. But remember, they may turn out to be a real treasure.
4. Practical planting

Preparing the ground
 Improving your soil
 How to dig
Buying plants
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