How to Prepare a Garden for Planting


Home gardening ensures the freshness of the food produced. Summer food costs are lower with a home garden. To prepare a garden for planting, provide deep, loose, rich and good-draining soil. Preparing a garden plot gives your plants a good start.

Step 1

Select a site with 6 to 8 hours of sunlight exposure each day. Some light shade is tolerated, especially if you are in a hot climate. Do not plant your garden in an area with heavy shade since fruits and vegetables do not perform well in dense, dark shade. Do not pick a site that suffers from puddles whenever it rains.

Step 2

Remove grass, weeds and debris from the garden site. Pull out any sticks and rocks that will hinder planting and seed growth.

Step 3

Dig a trench 12 inches wide and as deep as one shovel blade. Remove the topsoil from this trench and place it in a wheelbarrow.

Step 4

Loosen the soil beneath the top soil with a garden fork to the depth of the tines. Stab the garden fork into the ground and rock it backwards and forwards. Breaking up the subsoil improves the drainage of the garden area.

Step 5

Dig up the next trench and place the topsoil into the previous trench. Loosen the subsoil and repeat this process until you reach the end of the garden area.

Step 6

Fill the last trench dug with the soil set aside in the wheelbarrow. Spread 1 inch of manure and 2 inches of peat moss over the garden area. Mix this organic matter into the top soil with a garden hoe. Rake the area smooth and level to finish preparing the garden area for planting.

Tips and Warnings

  • The garden soil can suffer damage if worked too soon in the spring while it is wet and sticky. It develops hard clumps and becomes compacted. Squeeze a handful of soil into a tight ball and drop it on the concrete. If it does not shatter, do not work the soil. Wait for the soil to dry out some more.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Garden fork
  • Manure
  • Peat moss
  • Garden hoe
  • Rake


  • University of Connecticut Extension: Preparing New Garden Beds
  • Utah State University Cooperative Extension: Preparing Garden Soil
Keywords: preparing garden site, creating new garden, planting site preparation

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.