How to Improve Soil and Build an In-Ground Garden Bed

How to Improve Soil and Build an In-Ground Garden Bed

The soil at my new house is GOOD, but compact and high in clay content. To get it to grow anything, I tilled up about 4-5″, mixed in various sources of compost, biochar, and mycorrhizal fungi, and then topped it off with a few bags of high quality soil mix.

Beds can be about 30″-48″ wide in ground to account for workability. Make sure you water in well and lay down some mulch after planting.

This is one of the easier ways to get a garden started if you have the space for it, as you’re using your own native soil to form the bed, saving you money.

0:00 – Intro
0:58 – Troubleshoot Existing Soil
2:24 – Measuring the Bed
4:14 – Tilling Existing Soil
4:58 – Adding Compost
7:02 – Topping With More Soil
9:25 – Planting Thai Veggies
11:19 – Outro


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  1. Danielle St. John on August 8, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    Supannee is hands down my favorite Thai restaurant. I wish I could leave a photo comment of her beautiful summer rolls.

  2. Tommy Daly on August 8, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    Hello Brother,
    I had one of those bed kits almost 4 by 4 and I put it on top of my native Corona CA soil (no bottom, just 4 sides and 4 joints). I laid cardboard since grass and weeds that used to be in the space, filled with great soil and planted tomatoes. I then laid red mulch. The box is dry by late afternoon, even using a 12" water meter, the tomatoes have not grown over 2 feet tall, no real fruit…why does it dry out so fast? What did I do wrong? I will say it’s in full sun all day so I umbrella it after 1-2PM when its 90+ in the Inland Empire…not enough sun? Should I
    water twice? Thanks my friend

  3. tonia garza on August 8, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    @epic gardening. Can you show the progress of the inground garden beds?

  4. Laura Cruz-Smith on August 8, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    When and how do I pull up plants and start over?

  5. Ameer Kader on August 8, 2021 at 9:15 pm

    Cant wait for levitating garden beds

  6. Blackhuf on August 8, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    Is there a reason for not using mulch on top of your beds? It would keep the soil temperature down and the water in.

  7. carol parrish on August 8, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    Very nice garden !

  8. Jangelah Frew on August 8, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    No way! My mums name is Suphannee, best Thai cook I know, ruined most restaurants for me. Cheers mum aka Super Nee. Living your videos, saving me and my black thumb down in Tasmania, Australia

  9. Haizi on August 8, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    It’s so beautiful that she brought you a marigold awwwww

  10. Mr Whitten on August 8, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    Is that open space behind you all your yard?? If so, WOW… you have a lot of area to play around with. Great video as always.

  11. Elsa C on August 8, 2021 at 9:23 pm

    Great video! I enjoyed the input from you friend!

  12. anthonyca on August 8, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    Do you run your water through a clorine/cloramine filter? My friends dad always had the best garden and vegetables I have ever tasted. He only used rain catch water or filtered water when he ran out of stored rain water (California). His theory was that of chemicals in the water kill bad bacteria, they also could harm good bacteria in the soil and plants.

  13. Brandon Hsieh on August 8, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    How far a part are those halboneros? I thought they needed a foot and a half of space

  14. Josh Martin on August 8, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    Could have dug up 6 inches deep take the soil you dug out and mixed it with you addition soil for a deeper longer lasting plot…and you could use it for root crops like potatoes since you softened up 6 inches down

  15. Fito Rodríguez on August 8, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    How cool is that wheelbarrow! I cannot find that here in Barcelona. Can you share the brand? Thank you man! Congrats for this new project 🙂 lots of expectations!

  16. Richard Franke on August 8, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    In Florida we have nematodes that will suck the life out at the roots. So, when preparing a raised garden you need to place something between the garden and the natural soil. Also, tree roots tend to take over. Is there something cheaper than pool lining material that works and that the sun won’t deteriorate in a couple years since it needs to go up the sides of the form for the garden and extend above the soil level?

  17. Olivia Cruz on August 8, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    No offense. I love your channel but how can you tout Charles’ no dig while you are sitting next to a tiller?! Also Ive seen C build his beds. Wheres your cardboard, wheres your compost. Love tha show but all the baggged soil is a bit off putting.

  18. Dragonious Maximus on August 8, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    Hawaiian uncle told me the same thing, talks to his babies and tells them to grow big and beautiful for papa. lol. i read through all the comments 59 to be exact and no one said a SALSA garden broooooooooooo!! Mahalo…4 the Win boom kanani

  19. Lorita Alanzo on August 8, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    Perlite isn’t for in ground beds; it’s for containers – putting it in the ground won’t hurt but it does little good. Perlite doesn’t amend soil, because a plant has virtually unlimited space for roots to grow when it’s in the ground. Perlite loosens soil in small spaces where roots are limited by compaction. Roots grow between cracks, not through the soil.

    Vermiculite would help some by retaining water.

    Clay is clay because of a chemical bond and once broken up, will always return to clay – cohesion is a bitch.

  20. Genevieve Vergara on August 8, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    Question- how do you get rid of crabgrass below and stop it from infiltrating the bed? I had a good first season and then come to find crabgrass snuck in under 3 layers of cardboard, and 1 layer of weed block. any ideas on keeping it out? thanks in advance

  21. Felix Chen on August 8, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    Thats good to know ! Thank you

  22. K Fetter on August 8, 2021 at 9:33 pm

    Congrats on your new "digs" (pun intended 🙂 )

  23. James Reichhelt on August 8, 2021 at 9:35 pm

    My back yard is mostly sand and rocks as it was filled to build a new house onto. I was looking for how to make a garden bed in the ground. Would this be the best solution? Or should I invest in building a raised bed? Thanks!

  24. DKUJ_ PALLETS & GARDENING on August 8, 2021 at 9:36 pm

    Taking notes.. I’m considering how I want to grow in the backyard.
    I’d love to connect with you one day!

  25. Blackhuf on August 8, 2021 at 9:38 pm

    A comparisment bed would be interesting, where you put the same amount of compost used for the other bed simply on top of the compacted soil. Same plants, watering, etc and compare the growth/harvests. I put ~2-3" of compost on compacted lawn at the start of the season, planted directly in the compost and my plants produce very well. But I dont have a tilled bed for comparisment.

  26. ItsACryin Shame on August 8, 2021 at 9:41 pm

    We put in 2 inground garden beds last year and they did way better than the raised beds right away. This year we are adding a couple of BIG gardens and using the raised for onions and carrots. Lol

  27. Amber Price on August 8, 2021 at 9:42 pm

    ugh thanks for this video bc im trying to cut the costs of these raised beds, and amending existing soil will help a lot

  28. skylinegt6 on August 8, 2021 at 9:43 pm

    love the channel! Do you have a video on rodents/pest (rabbits/squirrels/birds)?

  29. Epic Gardening on August 8, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    What other types of themed gardens do you want to learn how to grow?

  30. Tami Hallam on August 8, 2021 at 9:49 pm

    She is so adorable! I’m going to talk to my plants and tell them to grow big and tall now too!

  31. normisgarden on August 8, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    What happened with your birdies raised beds from the old garden?

  32. normisgarden on August 8, 2021 at 9:53 pm

    It looks beautiful!

  33. Dappernaut on August 8, 2021 at 9:54 pm

    You should try out waffle gardening. It could work well for your compacted soil as it’ll help to capture rainwater that would otherwise wash away

  34. HerPlantsAndSoul on August 8, 2021 at 9:54 pm

    Do you have any advice on how to make caliche into good usable garden soil. I am planning to make a garden in my backyard, but of course here in Vegas we have wonderful caliche everywhere. I know we have an orchard out here so we are able to grow crops, just curious how you would go about treating the caliche. thanks in advance for your help!

  35. Adil Hussain on August 8, 2021 at 9:54 pm

    Could you do a wildlife area to attract nature and pollinators?

  36. Von Mary on August 8, 2021 at 9:54 pm

    Can you put stones at the bottom of an in-ground bed?

  37. Leslie Young on August 8, 2021 at 9:56 pm

    I just water the area to soften soil and then get at least a spade depth in and turned over.

  38. Donald Smith on August 8, 2021 at 9:58 pm

    I do the same thing. Till once and amend the soil with compost and manure. In the spring I prep the beds with a broad fork and rake.

  39. Ivex x playz on August 8, 2021 at 9:59 pm

    Do these steps apply in soil mainly comprised of sand?(I live in Florida)

  40. Michael D. on August 8, 2021 at 10:00 pm

    I have always watered the area I want to rototill, the day before rototilling. This loosens the compacted soil a bit, and reduces all that dust. Kind of lubricates the soil, allowing the tiller to dig in and down easier. The thing to remember is not to drown the compacted soil. Just slowly water the area, then till the next morning. Great video, by the way. Thank you for the teachings.

  41. Sarah J on August 8, 2021 at 10:02 pm

    I have terrible clay soil. I have tried adding soil and compost every year, but it’s still so hard and not the greatest for my veg. What else can I do to improve the soil?? Thanks!!

  42. Baba Yoga on August 8, 2021 at 10:02 pm

    Seems if you soaked ground, you would get better depth

  43. Butterfly Whisperer on August 8, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    That is so exciting. Now I want a Thai garden too! There are so many vegetables and herbs that are hard to find. I can’t wait to see them growing tall. Ironically I just bought three kinds of Thai basil yesterday plus the purple ruffle because it looked and smelled so good.