Preparing your garden for planting

Burpee - Edible Gardening Team Members
Monday, March 14, 2011

Winter is making its way out the door, so it’s time to start thinking about preparing your garden for planting.

As soon as the ground thaws, begin loosening the soil with a shovel or pitchfork. Turn over sections at a time, working down to a depth of 8 to 10 in., keeping it rough and loose for now. The freezing and thawing it may have had over winter has improved its texture, but this is also a good time to determine if you soil can use amending. Infusing your soil with compost and organic matter makes it nutritious for your plants and gives the soil a healthy consistency for root establishment.

For optimal soil content, you should aim for two-thirds good-quality topsoil and one-third nutrient-rich compost. Work the organics into the ground with your shovel. Then, using a hard garden rake, level the loose soil without packing it down with your feet.

Remove rocks, roots, weeds and any other leftover debris from the previous season. If your garden space is wide, create a walkway down the center for easier access during planting, watering and harvest.

Now with a level planting area, top-dress your garden with granular fertilizer: spread handfuls over the soil and use the rake again to work it in.

With this early garden prep, the vegetables and herbs you choose this spring will have a head start to successful harvest.

Still dreaming about what to plant this year? Be sure to browse our list of this year's Burpee Home Gardens varieties!

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