For the home gardener, there is nothing better than rich, dark compost for amending the soil. It provides essential nutrients to grow robust plants and improves soil texture. Ironically, compost improves soil drainage and water retention as well. The organic matter that makes up compost works to aerate soil and attracts beneficial organisms like earthworms.
Till the garden to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Remove rocks, roots and other debris, then rake the surface smooth.
Form rows or hills for planting, then mark them with tags or labels attached to stakes.
If you are planting seeds, add 3 to 4 inches of compost to the hills or rows and work it in with a hoe.
If you are planting seedlings, add compost to the planting hole and mix it with the existing soil.