STAGE 1: Preparing an Existing Garden for Planting Vegetables

Be A Fun Mum gardening expert, Renee from About the Garden, is sharing how to prepare and plant your vege garden.

Steps for preparing an existing garden for planting vegetables

Preparing your existing garden for planting vegetables is not as complicated as you may think. All you need is a few supplies, tools and a positive attitude to a little hard work.

The first thing you should know about me is…I’m not the world’s best gardener, I’m a working Mum with two small children, I’m terribly time poor and have on more then one occasion killed a cactus. But over the years I have found a formula for preparing my vegetable gardens that has the best results for the amount of time I can invest into them.

Here are my supplies, tools and steps to getting my gardens ready for planting vegetables.


5IN1™ Organic Plant Food

Garden gloves




Garden Fork 

STEP 1: Dig it – Garden Bed Preparation

You need to dig and dig deep into your existing garden. A garden fork should be enough, but if your soil has really compacted down and is hard, you’ll have to pull out the garden hoe, just watch your toes! 

When digging make sure you put garden gloves on, as this is really hard work and you can get blisters. But don’t let the fear of a few blisters stop you from getting started, because the BONUS of digging is CALORIE BURN. Seriously, digging burns a huge amount of calories and I often wear my heart rate monitor to track how I’m going. It’s one way to turn a tedious job into part of my fitness routine.

Steps for preparing an existing garden for Planting Vegetables

STEP 2: Mix it in – Compost

Compost. That stinky stuff all those garden guru’s talk about, really is the corner stone to success. Why? Two primary reasons;

REASON 1: Compost is excellent for water retention, so therefore decreases the frequency of watering. 

REASON 2: Compost adds nutrients back into the soil, giving the vegetables much needed ‘plant food’ to grow healthy & produce harvest.

It is possible to make your own compost using household scrapes, but this process takes months before it becomes suitable for use in the garden. Alternatively you can use a ‘off the shelf’ product and I personally love 5IN1 Organic Plant Food by Searles. Even though I make my own compost, I still add a bag of 5IN1 to my garden before every planting, as I can see the difference it has made to the quality of my soil.

You need to spread the compost around the garden and dig it into the existing soil, the 5IN1™ bag includes a ratio guide on the back that is really helpful if you’re unsure how much product you need. 

REMEMBER: Compost is compost. It is not soil. If you plant your seedlings directly into compost they will die. Why? The compost medium burns the little seedlings roots and sends them into ‘shock’. So always mix your compost with garden soil for happy little plants J

It is always a good idea to give your garden a few days to rest before planting. This gives the compost a few days to break down further.

Then you are ready for vegetable planting! 

Now read STAGE 2: Planing Your Vegetable Seedlings into the Garden


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  • Reply
    STAGE 2: Planting your Vegetables Seedlings into the garden | Be A Fun Mum
    September 17, 2014 at 6:14 am

    […] your vegetable seedlings into the garden is easy if you’ve already completed STAGE 1: Steps for preparing an existing garden for Planting Vegetables.  Once you’re confident your garden soil is prepared, your ready to ‘roc-n’roll’ […]

  • Reply
    November 6, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Thanks Be A Fun Mum!

    When I was digging this garden to top up with compost, I was actually harvesting sweet potato at the same time. No joke, 3 of my sweet potatoes were bigger then my HEAD! Those sweet potato LOVE their organics, still trying to eat them all.

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