How to Make Gardening Soil


Well-draining, healthy soil is the very foundation for any garden. The first step to creating this soil is to determine what type of soil you currently have in the garden. If you have sandy soil you will need to amend it with materials that will help it to hold more moisture. On the other end of the spectrum is the clay soil, which holds too much water and will need to be amended with sand or something similar. A light, loamy soil is a combination of both with added organic material and it is ideal for growing most plants. The best time to make your gardening soil is in the early spring.

Step 1

Dig up the planting area to a depth of 6 inches, turning the soil and crushing any large clods of dirt.

Step 2

Add a 2-inch layer of the manure or compost and a 2-inch layer of sphagnum peat moss and mix it in well. Add the ammonium sulfate at a ratio of 1 pound per 100 square feet of gardening area. If you have a heavy, clay soil, add a 2- to 3-inch layer of coarse builders sand.

Step 3

Rake the area to level it and add a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch.

Step 4

Water the area well.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't work the soil if it is wet. If you can squeeze a handful and moisture drips out, it is too wet and you will need to let it dry for a few days.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Well-rotted manure or compost
  • Sphagnum peat moss
  • Ammonium sulfate
  • Builder's sand
  • Rake
  • Mulch
  • Water


  • Utah State University

Who Can Help

  • Oregon State University
Keywords: making gardening soil, amending soil, soil for the garden

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.