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3 Steps to Prepare for Growing

Updated: Jan 16, 2023


Preparing your soil is key to successful gardening. By adding garden soil, compost or leaves to your raised bed, you keep the soil full of the nutrients plants need.

We suggest doing this soil prep 2 weeks before planting. Attend How to Prep Your Bed on Sat., Aug 27 at 8:00 for hands-on instruction. Also watch The Importance of Soil Stewardship.


Now the fun part, planning your garden! Experienced gardeners will tell you, first and foremost, grow what you eat. Secondly, take advantage of your garden community; find out what has been successful for them.

Here is a planting plan AARP gardeners use based on years of successful growing at VISTA. Also see Raised Bed Gardening and the VISTA Plant Info Sheets for loads of helpful information.


Place plants a little closer together in raised beds to increase vegetable yields and control weeds. The dense canopy shades out weeds. Plants should be close enough to just touch when mature. If you get your seeds or seedlings from VISTA, simply follow the planting instructions since they are geared toward raised bed gardening.

As a rule of thumb, usually there is room for 1 plant per square foot. However, you can plant up to 16 carrots or onions or 4 leafy greens like lettuce or spinach in one square foot.

Read up on fertilizing, pest management and irrigation to help you take care of your young plants.

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