Cleared land was likely previously overrun with weeds, brambles and any manner of other wild plants. Depending on what was grown there before, the soil has likely been leached of nutrients that will be essential to the next generation of plants' success. Furthermore, even though cleared land may be currently free of weeds and other invasive plants, their root systems and seeds may still be lurking around. To avoid the common pitfalls of inadequate nutrition and weed growth, cleared land planting techniques must focus on soil preparation.
Take a soil sample to your local County Extension office to get to know the pH level, nutritional and mineral content of your soil. Dig five holes from various parts of the cleared land that are 8 inches deep. Then take a sliver of soil from the inside of each hole and place each sample in a seal-able container. Then take the soil sample in for testing.
Remove any visible rocks, roots and other debris from the cleared land.
Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to the soil according to the manufacturer's instructions. The best time to apply a pre-emergent herbicide is in mid-March before summer weeds emerge or in mid-September before the winter weed season. If you apply the herbicide too early, the rain may wash it away before it has time to take effect.
Use a roto-tiller to till the soil to a depth of 1 foot. After you till each row, go behind the roto-tiller and remove any large rocks or roots that you encounter along the way.
Spread a 3-inch layer of aged compost over the cleared area.
Add in any soil amendments that the soil test recommends for the variety of plants that you intend to plant. This may include additional nutrients and minerals or other amendments to change the pH of the soil.
Use the roto-tiller to till the soil to a depth of 1 foot.
Smooth the soil with a garden rake.
Plant. Now that the cleared land has been transformed into a nutritious planting bed, your plants can be planted as usual.