How to Prepare Soil for a Garden

Soil preparation is perhaps the most important part of growing plants. It is the soil which provides the growth medium to the plant and supplies nutrients and water. The quality of your soil has a direct effect on the quality of your plant. Spend time on this first step and you will reap the benefits soon enough because a soil rich in content; nutrients and a perfect blend of silt, sand and clay will give you plants that are true joy for a gardener.

Our step by step guide has the detailed information on how to best prepare your soil for the perfect plants.


  • 1

    Test the soil sample:

    This is the first and most crucial phase of preparing your soil. It will let you know the quality of your soil and the improvements it needs. Buy an inexpensive soil testing kit or take a soil sample to your local county extension office for analysis. You also have to determine the components of your soil like clay, sand or silt. Ideally it should be 40% sand, 40% silt and 20% clay. You can achieve this by adding extra organic matter.

  • 2

    Till the soil:

    Clear the area you want to plant in by removing every sort of weed or wild vegetation. Try to clear them off their roots. The roots of your plants will extend way down. Dig out the soil as much as you can, at least one feet deep, loosening the soil and removing any stones and rocks that will hamper the growth. You can use a shovel or a rotary driller for this purpose.

  • 3

    Add compost:

    Compost is a gardener's best friend. It is rich in organic matter and refurbishes the ground with it. You can also use top soil and cow manure for fertility. The soil test will help you determine which nutrients you need to get the perfect soil. Apply the compost and till again lightly to mix it in.

  • 4


    Fertilize the soil according to the test results you had. You can consult a local experienced gardener or the local extension office for advice on fertilizers. There are a lot of varieties to choose from, granular ones, liquid ones and slow releasing ones. Determine which type you need for growing the specific plant type you want. Plants need a healthy dose of potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus for ideal growth. Spread the fertilizer on the soil.

  • 5

    Till the soil again:

    Now that everything is added, till the soil again all over thoroughly. It will be easier than the first time because the soil particles have broken loose and you do not have to do as much hard work. Leave the tilled soil for a few days before starting plantation.

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