This Article is About
soil fertility
summer vegetables
rocket science
compost
shovel
Preparing The Soil Before Planting A Vegetable Garden
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Preparing the Soil Before Planting A Vegetable Garden

The key to good a good harvest is to prepare the soil before planting vegetable gardens. It is a rather straight forward process which will involve digging and improving the soil by adding organic matter, to increase soil fertility.

It need not take rocket science to prepare your soil before planting a vegetable garden. My approach is very simple with abundant harvests each season, with many a jealous neighbor who appear to always be in the, "I have thought about putting a garden in" mode, but never actually following through on it.

Begin by digging your plot

Mark the area that you want to prepare, you can do this by marking it out with stakes and a length of string. Use a spade to cut the surface of the soil along the string line. Dig the area over with a shovel, taking care to remove any debris that are inorganic and will interfere with the growth of your vegetables ie; stones, roots, twigs and general weeds that would not be suitable to put in your compost.

It is a good idea to prepare your soil in advance, as in, do not plant in it the day you turned it over, especially if it is a new plot. i like to leave mine about a week or too, giving it time to be exposed to natures elements. Preparing your soil at the end of winter ready for the warmth of spring should get you all up and running for fresh summer vegetables to harvest.

Improving your soil

You can usually tell by the color of the soil to whether it needs a boost. I was very fortunate where I live as they had never grown a vegetable garden here, and when I started digging, found layers of topsoil just below ground level enabling me to not have to immediately deal with any additives. Having never been one to spend too much on my plot, I was patient enough to wait for my compost to produce from my overgrown section, knowing that I had enough resources on hand.

If you don't trust your judgement as a beginner, you could get Ph testers etc to test your soil, but I have never been one for those. I find that I have an eye for the color of the soil, so if it is a light brown and solid, you have clay, add some organic matter, break the clay down as much as possible and fork in your organic matter. A mid brown is not too bad as it will still need an organic additive, as with clay, but just not as much. As for black soil, awesome, this is always a welcome sight for me when turning over my soil as the amount of organic matter you need to add is minimal.

Maintaining your soil after planting has begun

This is the easy part, but just as important as preparing your soil. With having a good soil condition before planting you will find the maintenance very simple. Compost and mulch will be your best friend in this process. If you have access to manure, even better, but take care when using it for the first time. I put mine in a bucket of water and liquid feed when I have no vacant soil to dig it into or apply it to my compost to break down. Applying direct can prove to be disastrous as it could burn your plants.

To sum it up, keep it simple so not to make planting vegetable gardens a chore, instead of starting a new hobby. It's a bit like everything you are trying for the first time, you will learn through your own and others experiences like every other garden I know.


Street Talk

Great content JoAnne, I love gardening too haven't had much time for it lately, planning to get back in to it though. Thanks Awesome information.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Very well written JoAnne! We have a big pile in the works right now for next year.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I Shawn, sorry for that late response, and thank you for your positive feedback. Great to hear that you have work in progress, at this stage of my section development, it seems to be an ongoing situation, and I am always making new soil somewhere, but loving it all that same.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

thank you. I always wanted to grow vegiges

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Great to hear, you will not look at shop vegetables the same again :)

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Very good information here. If I had a yard I would plant a garden in a heartbeat...That's city life for ya I guess. Can't wait to get out of the city tho and get planted...yes there was a little pun intended.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thanks Ty, have you thought of growing indoors ?

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Great info. Thanks for sharing

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Your welcome and thanks John for taking the time to read it.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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