If you’re a new gardener the very sight of warm spring weather makes you think about planting. The onset of warmer temperatures is nature’s way of saying that the winter frost has passed and gardening season is well on its way. While your seeds will need to be prepped in different ways, there are some basics you can do such as prepping the soil so that you’re ready once planting season begins.
Let’s Get Physical
It is important to point out that there is going to be quite a bit of physical work involved, however, it is very self explanatory and can be done with ease. The process is simple step by step and does not all have to be done at once. So for those who have a larger garden area, prepping your soil in parts is okay so that you don’t stress yourself out physically.
Don’t let the warm weather fool you. Simply because the temperatures have changed does not mean it is the best time to begin working on your soil. Prematurely digging into wet soil can damage the structure and cause long term damage to your crops. A great way to test the moisture levels in your soil is to take a handful of it and drop it to the ground while holding it approximately at waist height. If the soil does not break apart that means that it is not ready to work with.
If your soil is dry enough to work with then you can begin garden bed preparations by getting rid of all the surface vegetation. This means removing any unwanted weeds or dead crops from the ground.
Fixing the Soil
Once you have your garden bed all cleared out it is time to add any amendments to the soil that you may need. Some prefer to add in a few inches of compost as well as fertilizers to enhance the quality of the soil. If you can, you should also check the PH balance of your soil to see if you need to add either limestone to acidic soil or pipe sawdust for soils that are alkaline. This can be done by scattering either limestone or pipe sawdust around the soil and then incorporating it in. When soil is in good shape you only have to dig a few inches utilizing a fork, however, for compacted soil it may take more time to dig so that you can get the ingredients mixed into the soil.
After you have completed adding the amendments to the soil to improve its overall structure and quality you are now ready for the final step. You will need to break apart all of the large solid clumps of soil you might find laying around. This can be done with a fork easily. Then after breaking up the clumps you should shape the bed using a rake. After your garden bed has been shaped properly you are ready to begin sowing or planting once your garden season officially arrives.