How to Prepare Soil for Planting

Overview

Preparing soil for planting a new garden bed is not difficult, but the process can vary slightly based on the starting condition of the soil and what you intend to plant. Some types of plants may require specific soil additions to create the appropriate pH levels, for example, but preparing the soil generally follows the same basic steps for everything.

Step 1

Remove all grass, sod, weeds and rocks from the soil area.

Step 2

Dig and turn over the top 12 to 18 inches of soil, using a shovel.

Step 3

Spread 6 to 8 inches of finished compost and mix it into the turned, loosened soil. Add grass clippings, leaf mold, hay, sawdust, fireplace ashes and other organic materials to the soil as well, if compost is short in supply. Add these fresh organic materials in autumn, if possible, so they can decompose over winter and have the soil ready for planting in the spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost or organic matter

References

  • Oregon State University: Growing Blueberries In Your Home Garden
  • University of Missouri: Growing Home Garden Tomatoes
  • University of Connecticut: Preparing New Garden Beds
Keywords: garden soil preparation, prepare soil, soil planting preparation

About this Author

Kathy Burns-Millyard has been a Web designer, developer, Internet consultant, photographer and prolific professional writer since 1997. Specializing in business, technology, environmental and health topics, her work has appeared in "Wireless Week" magazine, "Entrepreneur" magazine, "Computer User" magazine, and in hundreds of publications around the Web.