I will start with making a new bed so the whole process is explained. This is for a fairly large garden, a small garden can be different. A large garden can be different, this is how we did it. First we had a man harrow the area and we removed as much sod as possible, then we marked off where we wanted the borders, based on the size of beds and paths we wanted. We wanted four foot beds and paths. We want it to be easy to reach the center of a bed, and veggies always overflow the beds into the paths. We used whatever we had to mark the beds, string, rope, extension cords, anything to make a straight line. Next we double dug the beds, dig out and remove a shovels depth worth, then dig another shovel’s depth to loosen the soil, then put it all back in the beds. When we first started, we did not have enough of our own manure, we hauled in old horse manure. There are many people that would love you to haul away their manure, old and dry is best. We put down a few inches of manure, and some supplements (there are too many opinions to give advice on supplements. Soil test are important but getting someone that knows organic is the key.) on the beds. The last part was as much of lowering the paths as it was raising the beds. For each bed, we shoveled one half of the path, about 3-4 inches, onto the beds. We then smoothed out the beds and planted.
Over time adding mulch and manure will get the beds higher, ours are about a foot high.
When we have a heavy rain we sometimes get water in the paths but our beds never get soaked and which could kill the plants.
We originally made our beds about 10 feet long, with several in a line, but after a couple years I took out a couple cross paths and filled them in with soil. We now have two longer beds per row, this increased our growing area by quite a bit.
In a future post I will go into mulching the beds and paths.