Spring is when home gardeners begin working the soil in their gardens, adding what is needed to provide important nutrients to the soil so that healthy plants will flourish. The most tedious soil preparations may take an hour or a full day, depending on the size of the garden plot that will be worked. After a rest period, the soil is worked one last time.
Selection of Site
If a site for the garden has not yet been cleared, selecting the proper place is the first step in preparing the soil. Will the plants need full sun or partial shade? A location to serve the plants' needs is important. Soil type is not as critical as sun, because soil can be built up.
Clearing the desired area before beginning the spring soil preparations is necessary. It is best to work soil 10 to 12 inches deep, clearing away twigs and rocks. A spade is a great tool to use for the purpose of digging, and a hoe will come in handy when trying to clear away big debris. Hands work best for small debris.
Adding nutrient-rich dirt to the soil in the spring is also crucial, and compost works well for this purpose. Compost should be shoveled over the prepared soil in the garden plot. Be sure to take out any big chunks of debris such as large twigs that have not completely decomposed. Working the compost into the prepared soil with a spade in order to ensure that all of the soil and compost is being worked together. Even out the prepared soil with the back of a hoe.
Cow manure can be used instead of compost, working it in the same manner as compost would be worked into the soil. Whichever product is chosen for this purpose should be organic. Other manures, such as from rabbits or hens, can be mixed into compost and used in a garden plot, as long as the droppings are completely composted first.
Adding other types of nutrients, such as kelp, alfalfa meal or soybean meal may also be necessary. Such nutrients are usually added sparingly, especially if a certain nutrient must be added to the soil. One such nutrient is nitrogen. Add the chosen nutrient(s) to the garden plot and mix into just the top of the soil. Deep integration is not necessary.
Rest and Turn
Once all necessary elements are added to the garden soil, a rest is in order. The soil can sit as is for a few days, allowing each element to combine with the others. Once this is accomplished, the soil should be turned one last time. Not a deep turn, just the top of the soil. The spring soil preparations are completed and seed or seedlings can be planted.