How do you prepare your beds for planting?
I have been lurking for a couple years and have finally decided to post a couple questions to find out what others are doing at the start of the season. Now that most of the three feet of snow in our backyard has melted, I am ready to start thinking about this year's garden. OK, that is not true...I started back in January and planned out all of my planting when we only had two feet of snow!
We have two seasons of SFG under our belts now and have had good success. We have three 4x3 and one 4x2 boxes, all made out of 2x12s over decent soil that we forked and turned before filling the boxes. We started with Mel's Mix (various composts, vermiculite, coir, pear moss) the first year. The beds settled a good bit during the first year, so last summer we topped off with more Mel's Mix made with our own and other compost and more of the other ingredients with some blood meal and bone meal mixed in to within an inch or two of the tops of the boxes and sowed our seeds without any turning of the soil.
I have two questions for the community out there in the internet...
First, do you top off at the start of the season with just compost, as I think the "official" method suggests, or do you mix up and add additional Mel's mix? I can see reasons for doing either, so I am curious to know what you use (including any additional amendments) and why.
Second, do you turn, fork, till, or otherwise mix your Mix at the start of the season before planting? We did not last year and given the abundance of worms, I am not inclined to do so. Plus things went well without doing so last year and it is much easier. Again, I am curious to know what you do and why?