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Making new garden beds with solarization

There is one good thing about this crazy hot weather; it's a great time to solarize! 

If you've been thinking about turning your lawn into a garden bed, this is the perfect year to do it. Solarizing is an organic way to get rid of grass and weeds in large areas. It can also help reduce pathogens in the soil. To solarize a new garden bed, follow these steps:

Remove plants and debris. If there's grass, mow it as low as you possibly can and water thoroughly. You can also apply 20 % horticultural vinegar over the top to really make those weeds mad. 

Use sheets of 2-4 ml clear painters plastic to cover the area you want to solarize. Avoid black or white plastic-it will not let as much heat through. Use rocks or bricks to weigh it down and make a good seal around the edges.

Let the sun do its magic! The downside is, you'll have to wait. It will take 6-12 weeks to really get everything nice and cooked.

When time is up, remove the plastic and either turn over the soil or remove any dead leftovers. Put a good layer of compost down.

If you are battling grass, put down thick layers of newspaper or cardboard in any open spots that are not going to be planted immediately. Don't forget to top it off with a thick layer of mulch!