We all look forward to springtime when we can begin digging and reawakening the soils ability to provide nutrition to many types of vegetation. There are fundamentals involved in soil preparation such as creating a proper loosening of the soil to a good depth and providing appropriate aeration/drainage to carry on cell respiration and prevent soggy soil. The point is to create a good seed bed that will assure reliable germination. The best time to prepare your soil can be determined by soil moisture and making sure that your ground is not too wet or dry. This is critical for root growth and penetration to get the necessary nutrients and water needed to grow. It can be an easy process to determine if it’s the right time by clumping the dirt into a ball and dropping it on the ground to see how easily it breaks up.
Now that you have determined you are ready for soil preparation, it is time to remove any dead weeds, live vegetation, scythe or crop residue. Keep in mind if you till in live vegetation it will take at least a month for the plant material to breakdown using nitrogen, which is essential to plant growth. Choose the method that best meets your needs depending on your growing season. Select a groundbreaking technique that allows you to loosen the soil at a depth that allows you to promote texture deep into the soil, sometimes as much as 24 inches. The most common ways of breaking up the soil include tilling, using a tractor or double digging using a spade and garden fork.
As we prepare for soil preparation and cultivation it is important to analyze micro-nutrient constituents and the soil pH,determine amendment requirements and decide whether you will use a subsoiler or bottom plowing. The steps to begin preparing your soil includes choosing a location, sampling the soil material, planing the vegetation or garden layout, strip off overgrowth, turn over the soil, add soil amendments to support growth, smooth out any high or low spots depending on drainage, add fertilizer depending on the needs of the vegetation, turn over the soil once again to ensure amendments have been properly distributed, then based on your needs you may have to add protection measures such as fencing. Healthy nutrient rich vegetation is a goal we can all achieve.