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I'm not a concrete expert, though I can mix it if necessary.
I wouldn't dig, you need a firm base. If you want to remove some soil, slice it off.
If your'e gardening on a slope getting the levels right is priority. You have to consider what sort of soil your'e laying on top of. Does it need a base, i.e. hardcore. If it does a 2-4 inch base of hardcore followed by a 2 inch level of sharp sand mixed with concrete 3 parts sand to one cement. If your soil is stable you won't need hard core, although if your'e putting in different levels, it's advisable. You also need to include a very slight slope on the slabs for run off, otherwise any rain will have nowhere to go.
Hello. I found this sensible but funny website when we were setting some flagstones a few months ago.