Unless your garden soil is naturally fertile, at some point you will probably want to enrich the soil. Improving the soil quality of your garden will normally result in larger, healthier plants and vegetables. Stronger plants will often bloom or yield their fruit sooner, which means your harvests will be bigger and better. Contrary to what many gardeners think, you do not have to load up your garden soil with heavy doses of chemical fertilizer to enrich it. Mother Nature provides much of the needed items; you just simply need to use them.
Start a compost pile. Build a compost bin or set a container outside near your garden. If you prefer, you can simply start a compost pile in back corner of your garden and mix it into the soil there. Be aware that you may attract more insects to the garden if you do not have the compost in a container of some sort. Some excellent items to mix together to form a good compost include: vegetable scraps, fruit, fruit peels, coffee grounds, fireplace ash, shredded newspapers, sawdust, peat moss, manure, leaves, and wood chips. Stir the compost each time you add something to it. Plan on starting your compost pile two months before you need it, so it has time to break down.
Harvest or remove any plants and vegetables you have in the area of soil you wish to enrich. You need to do this at the end of the summer or beginning of fall.
Spread a layer of your compost over the entire area you wish to enrich. Use a heavy-duty dirt rake or hoe to help to do this.
Rent or buy a garden tiller. Set the tiller to a medium depth and till the garden area. The tiller will turn the soil over and mix it with the compost material. The compost will add nutrients to the soil, and the soil will drain better from being churned. You want to till the soil to depth of 6 to 8 inches.
Allow the soil to rest over the winter.
Till the soil again in the spring. Wait until two or three weeks before you intend to plant in the garden. You may use another layer of compost to the soil first, but it is not as important as using it months beforehand.
Plant your plants and vegetables in the enriched soil.