Q. The stakes and the string when laying out the rows – are they for lining up the 4-inch ridges or a line for plant placement? And do you leave them in or remove when the bed is finished??
A. Stakes and string are used to define and outline the soil bed. The soil is raked from the center of the aisles to the area under the string first. Then it’s raked flat and immediately below the strings uniformly along its length, then leveled.
Sometimes that leveling process requires moving soil from the high end of the bed to the low end, with a shovel. Then the bed top is flattened again and the level re-checked. Then soil is raked from the center of the bed to make 4”+ ridges immediately under the strings.
The flat level area that is left in the center is where the plants are planted. That area should be 10”-12” wide.
Before you plant remember to apply and dig about 8″ (20 cm) into the soil the Pre-Plant and Weekly Feed natural mineral nutrients, at the rate of one ounce (PP) and ½ ounce (WF) per foot (100 grams and 50 grams per meter for those on the metric system).
Stakes stay in the ground permanently. The strings stay until the plants grow big, so you can pull the ridges down when weeding and quickly rake them back in place again.