How do I clear and start a flower bed over?
To prevent weed seeds from sprouting you can sprinkle a pre-emergent herbicide over the soil. There's a product called PREEN that does this. Also, be sure to mulch right after planting. A thick mulch will help keep weeds at bay and will give your plants more consistent soil moisture. In your shade garden, if you only plan to plant permanent shrubs and/or trees, you could also use landscape fabric. This will cover the soil surface and you can plant your shrubs in slits you make with a sharp knife. Then, mulch over it. This is ideal for areas where you do not plan to add additional plants or bulbs at other times. Landscape fabric is not recommended for flower or veggie gardens because it makes it very difficult to plant new things.
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