Monday, March 1, 2010

Preparing the Soil to Plant

I know it is so tempting, but do not rush things in the Spring. If your soil is too wet and you try to till or mix the soil you will end up with a gummy mess and may even ruin the make-up of your soil. To test if your soil is ready USU extension suggests that you should take a handful of soil 3 inches deep from the garden. Squeeze it firmly and drop it on the sidewalk (or nearby cement). If the ball shatters it is a good consistency to work.

When your soil is ready you should put 2 - 6 inches of organic material. I don't always get 2 inches deep of organic material, but I do my best to make sure there is plenty. Examples of organic material are: sawdust, leaves, compost, peat moss, etc. Growing up we had a lot of oak trees in our yard. When it was autumn my dad would always pile the extra leaves on top of the garden. I go and buy steer manure and soil prep for my garden. For each bag of manure I mix 2 bags of soil prep. If you live in UT a great place to find manure and soil prep is IFA. IFA is also one of my favorite places to get both vegetable seeds and vegetable plants. This year it is my goal to get a good composting bin made. This will not only get rid of my garden waste, but will also benefit my garden.

After you have your organic material on top of your garden either rototill or shovel and mix your soil 6 - 8 inches deep. Don't overwork the soil to a fine dust. This will make watering more difficult later one. If you have any clods of dirt, just rake them.

These simple steps will really benifit your garden. I always have huge success with my tomatoes and I swear it is because of the organic matter (especially manure) that I add to my garden beds. Just make sure that if you use manure that you don't use too much. Too much manure can actually burn the plants.

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