Bed Preparation and Planting


This is an in-depth course on the Koanga Institute best practice Bed Preparation and Planting. 

First we’ll show you our small range of essential high quality tools and all the other key things we need in the garden before we begin. 

We’ll then take you through all the steps involved in the process of efficiently and effectively preparing your garden beds to achieve optimum results in terms of soil conditions and plant health, for the least amount of energy and resource input. 

You will learn many techniques around bed preparation and planting that when put together and practiced become an art that is beautiful to enact and behold. 

You will be creating a tailored and perfect space to grow amazing food! 

Alongside these essential learnings for success you will learn simple and highly effective techniques that use the natural weight of your body without putting unnecessary strain on the sensitive areas that are prone to damage like your back. 

This course is an essential part of the Koanga Gardening online Masterclass Series and integrates much of what’s been learned in other courses such as “Garden Planning” and “Growing Great Seedlings”.

This workshop comes with a master tool list, the Koanga garden planner master chart, designs and information to build tools and seedling protection cages and links to further resources. 

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Course Category

Who is this course for?

This course can be easily achieved by any age group including those who may be older or those who think digging over garden beds might be a bit too tricky, proving you have the appropriate tools and a bit of will power.  

This course is for people who are struggling with their soil and / or their techniques.

This course is also for people who want to get maximum production from a small space. 

It’s also a great course introducing you to the best tools for this kind of gardening. 

It’s for every level of home gardener, its also great for small scale commercial food producers. 

This course is for both urban and country gardeners. 

CLIMATE: The workshops are based around giving people an understanding of the principals of science and the laws of nature which can be applied in varying ways to any climate. In our videos we are specifically showing people how to apply these patterns in a temperate climate. 


Episodes and Learning Outcomes


Episode 1

  • Understand how to put into practice the theory we’ve learnt in all the previous workshops.
  • Understand that referring to the sheets and charts given in the Garden Planning workshop will be key to your success.
  • Learn about how we altered the Garden Planning process to meet the needs of this Urban Garden.
  • Learn about the current situation of the Urban Garden in terms of fertility and self-reliance.
  • Learn more about how to approach the Bed Prep process in clay and sandy soils.
  • Learn how we’re putting into place all 7 steps learned in the Growing Nutrient Dense Food workshop.


Episode 2 – Recommended Tools

  • Learn to choose your tools based on their performance and durability.
  • Get an estimation of what one-off costs you’d be looking at by purchasing new tools to get your garden started. This episode includes an estimate startup value for both casual and full time gardeners.
  • Learn which suppliers we think are the best in NZ and the reasons why.


Episode 3 – Laying out the Foundations

  • Learn the things you should have in mind when deciding the width of your garden beds and paths.
  • Learn how to use sticks and string to lay out the design of your garden beds.
  • Learn how to use your garden fork to create a clear edge between your beds and paths.
  • Learn how to use a spade and a rake to clear the grass from the paths around your garden beds.


Episode 4 – Option 1 – Bed Prep Using Double Digging

  • Learn how to prepare a bed for Double Digging, one of the bio-intensive bed preparation techniques we use in all our gardens here at Koanga to achieve deeply aerated soils.
  • Learn how to go step-by-step through the process of Double Digging.
  • Learn and see the ergonomic movements we use to Double Dig garden beds without damaging our bodies.


Episode 5 – Option 2 – Bed Prep Using a Garden Fork and Rake

  • Learn how to prepare your garden beds for planting using nothing but a fork and rake.


Episode 6 – Option 3 – Bed Prep Using the U Bar

  • Understand how using a U bar can help you achieve deeper aertion, time efficiency and higher food production.
  • Learn how to prepare a garden bed using a U bar and a wooden board.


Episode 7 – Working with the Garden Crew

  • In this episode you’ll see the Koanga crew preparing beds in the Koanga Organic Tree Nursery.
  • Learn how to use the Roebuck Fork in an ergonomic way to prepare your garden beds.
  • Learn more about how to prepare your bed in order to achieve optimum results.


Episode 8 – Preparing for Planting

  • Learn how Kay gives her garlic, potatoes and onions a good head start by soaking them in a nutrient rich solution for 24hrs.


Episode 9 – Planting Peas

  • Learn how to build a simple structure that allows you to cover your peas and grow them in areas with high bird populations.
  • Learn how to improve the genetics of your seeds by selection


Episode 10 – Planting Garlic & Onions & Potatoes

  • Learn how to use the diagonal spacings of the Koanga Garden Master Chart to plant your garlic, onions and potatoes.


Episode 11 – Planting Carrots & Radish & Greens 

  • Learn how to scatter sow carrots and radishes and support them to germinate evenly.


Episode 12 – Green Manure Crops

  • Understand how green manure crops can be used to encourage microbial activity in the soil which in turn helps your plants to grow Nutrient-Dense food.