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How to Prepare a Field for Planting

An open field presents many possibilities for planting. Whether putting in a cash crop or tending the field to make ready for vegetables, steps must be taken to prepare the field for planting. Thought must go into the process before the first tractor tire hits the soil to create the proper growing medium for the chosen harvest.

Determine the use for the field before plowing and tilling. Certain growing systems, like conservation tilling, do not require the field be plowed and tilled. The new seed is sown directly into the stubble of the last crop. Time and the elements work together to compost the layers as the crops grow.

Plow up the field for new crops or for growing an organic cash crop. Turn the top layers of soil under so weeds and debris lay under a layer of soil. It may take two or three times to plow the field so the entire top layer has been turned.

Remove any rocks from the field to keep from damaging the disc blades and rake during the next steps of preparing the field for planting. Rocks tend to dull blades and tines of garden implements.

Till the field so the soil is loosened for planting. Two or three passes with the tiller opens up the soil and further breaks down any unwanted vegetation that may still be trying to grow. Apply fertilizer and/or herbicides at this time, if desired. For organic gardening, only apply natural products or those recognized to be safe for certified organic growing.

Rake the soil in the field to produce a fine soil bed for planting. The rake smooths out the large clumps of soil and makes the planting surface level. Set the plow to create furrows for planting and plant the seeds or plants desired.


Avoid large time lapses between plowing, discing, and raking to keep weeds from coming back before the seed crop has a chance to germinate and start growing.


For safety reasons, always let someone know where you are on the farm equipment during its usage.

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