How to break up the dirt for planting a garden. It’s important to remove all foreign objects, weeds, and rocks.
Every job in the world has a right way and a wrong way to get it done. The same can be said for digging a garden. If you are planning to create an extremely large garden, digging it is probably the wrong approach overall. Any garden over about 150 to 200 square feet should be broken and tilled will motorized equipment and not a shovel, rake, and hoe.
For a smaller backyard garden, using hand tools to dig the garden is a fine choice. Be prepared that even a small garden can seem like a big job if you are not used to working hard. To make sure that the garden has the best chance of succeeding and keep your frustration level down, it is important that you follow a few suggestions to make the job go easier and faster.
Keep your tools sharp.
People who are not farmers probably think that the only tools that need to stay sharp are the hatchet and axe. For gardeners, other tools are more important to keep with a sharp edge. A sharp garden spade is essential for slicing through buried roots and hard soil. Keeping your hoe sharp will allow you to dig better furrows and remove weeds later in the gardening effort.
Use the right tools and buy quality.
You can buy a shovel for $3 to $5. It will last about 2 years and give you problems after about 2 weeks. All cheap tools are like this. They will not hold an edge for long after sharpening. Usually, they come with cheap handles that fall out and break easily. Since you will be using these tools for many years, spend the extra and buy quality. You will save money in the long run.
Remove rocks and debris.
It is critical that as many rocks as possible be removed when digging or or working in the garden. Not only do rocks need to be removed, but roots, leaves, sticks, and other foreign materials need to be taken from the garden area. Any weeds or grasses that are growing in the garden must be removed by the roots. Obviously, any plastic, metal, and other man made materials should be eliminated.
Dig deep enough for roots to be able to develop easily.
Most garden plants need 6 to 10 inches of soft soil to be able to thrive at their best. Some plants like potatoes may need double that amount or more. Digging deeply will let water penetrate for proper watering. It will also make the application of any plant foods and fertilizers more effective.
Pick the right location before digging a garden.
You need a well-drained area that gets good sun several hours per day. Direct sun for 5 or more hours is a good selection. Try to pick a spot that does not show signs of previous erosion. It also needs to be close enough to a water source that it can be irrigated if needed.
Make the rows far enough apart.
In a small garden, there is a tendency to try to squeeze extra space by planting the seeds and plants too close together. To help avoid this temptation, make the rows the right distance apart for the type of plants you will be putting into your garden. Plants need enough room for their roots to spread out enough to get enough water and minerals to produce a crop. Give them what they need.
Try not to leave large clods.
Break up large dirt clods. If you have a problem with the dirt remaining in clods, you may need to mix some type of soil conditioner into the dirt. More than likely, this is a symptom of the soil having to much clay in its composition.
Do not over use natural fertilizers.
Published in: Gardening