How to Prepare Soil for an Organic Garden


An organic garden provides ample fruit and vegetables that are full of flavor and vitamins. Organic soil requires time for added nutrients to break down, so preparations for an organic garden should begin at least one growing season before anything is ever planted. For best results, consult a professional gardener to confirm necessary local nutrients.

Step 1

Till the natural dirt so that it is softened to at least 2 feet below the surface, using a spade for smaller, easy-to-work spaces or a rototiller for larger areas or new beds. For hard soils, consider watering the area the night before and tilling in the early morning when the ground is most pliable.

Step 2

Add equal parts commercially prepared garden soil and sand on top of the natural dirt. This combination encourages healthy drainage and prevents root rot.

Step 3

Add a one-half-inch sprinkling of organic matter such as dried leaves and grass clippings and till the soil well to mix the ingredients together.

Step 4

Test the soil to determine its pH (acidity level) and any missing nutrients. Follow the instructions in the test kit to ensure accurate results. In general, vegetables thrive in a neutral pH, citrus plants prefer an acidic soil, and nut trees and berries thrive in a more basic soil.

Step 5

Contact a nursery to determine the appropriate pH and nutrient levels for what you will be planting and the necessary organic ingredients for soil supplementation. Ingredients may include coffee to adjust the pH, fish fertilizer to add minerals such as zinc, or molasses to supplement the soil with iron.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade or rototiller
  • Garden soil
  • Sand
  • Dried leaves
  • Grass clippings
  • Soil test kit


  • How to Prepare an Organic Garden
Keywords: organic garden, organic soil preparation, organic soil supplementation

About this Author

Ann White is a freelance journalist with prior experience as a Corporate and Business Attorney and Family Law Mediator. She has written for multiple university newspapers and has published over 300 articles for publishers such as EHow and Garden Guides. White earned her Juris Doctor from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.