Check the soil moisture. The soil should be evenly moist to facilitate digging, but not saturated. If needed, water the area to be dug. For hard, dry clays that have not ever been cultivated, this may mean up to 2 hours with a sprinkler.Begin next steps when soil is evenly moistened. 2. Loosen 12 inches of soil with a spading fork, and remove any plant cover.
Check soil moisture and water again if necessary. If your soil has particularly large clods, consider waiting several days and let nature help do the work.The warm sun, cool nights, wind, and water will help break down the clods. Water the bed lightly every day to aid the process. OPTIONAL (ONE TIME): At this time, sand may be added to a bed with a clayey soil, or clay to a bed with sandy soil, to improve texture.
Normally you should add no more than ½ inch (4 cubic feet) of sand or clay. (More sand may allow water-soluble fertilizers to percolate down too rapidly.) Mix the sand or clay thoroughly into the loosened 12 inches of soil with a spading fork. OPTIONAL (ONE TIME): If the soil is poor (very sandy or very clayey), add on a one-timeonly basis up to a ½-inch layer (8 cubic feet) of compost or aged manure.
Remove the soil from the upper part of the first trench Remove the soil from the upper part of the first trench and place it in a soil storage area for use in making compost and flat soil or to return to the last trench. 4. Loosen the soil an additional 12 inches. OPTIONAL (ONE TIME): Spread a ½-inch layer of compost on the loosened soil of the first trench.