How to revitalise a depleted garden bed

  • In the last quarter of the moon it’s a good time to replenish a garden bed, or feed up plants during their growing phase, with compost and nutrients.
  • We’ve decided to make over a whole garden bed that’s had silverbeet in it for more than a year, as well as rhubarb, both of which are gross feeders and have depleted the soil. The silverbeet and spinach have gone to seed so it’s time for them to come out.
  • If soil is crumbly and doesn’t hold its shape when squeezed that’s a sign it needs additives to bring it back to life.
  • Clearing a bed of spent vegetables will give you a big amount of organic waste. It’s the perfect material to make hot compost with or to add to your cold compost bin. See here for how to make hot compost.
  • We call this kind of waste biomass – it bulks the compost pile out. Hot compost needs a pile constructed 1 metre high and 1 metre wide and deep and often it’s hard to find that much material in the home garden. Waste like this has both nitrogen and carbon (green and brown matter) in it, so it’s ideal.
  • Once our bed is cleared it’s time to aerate the soil with a fork. We recommend a fork rather than a spade as a spade can destroy soil structure and damage earthworms.
  • Aeration is important for drainage, to assist earthworms moving around, and to feed bacteria and fungi.
  • If your soil is acidic, now’s the time to add garden lime to balance it.
  • Then we add compost, the backbone of soil. Compost makes soil friable, and is important in the summer months for water retention.
  • Next add sheep pellets, or a product called Dynamic Lifter which contains animal manure, seaweed, blood and bone, and fishmeal.
  • If you have coffee grounds on hand it’s a great addition at this stage. Make friends with your local café and they can leave a bag of grounds out for you on a regular basis.
  • We finish off the layers with a sprinkling of our favourite Natures Organic Fertiliser which contains 72 minerals, essential for the overall health of your soil.
  • Work it all in to the soil with a fork, and finish off with a good watering.


Camera: Jarod Murray
Editor: Thomas Asche
Production equipment and post-production services provided by The Black Forest Breathes