Kids’ Valley Garden

Preparing Your Garden Plot

The ground in your garden has been holdingmoistureall winter and spring. You will have to perform a ’ball test’ to see if it’s ready to be worked. Pick up a handful ofsoiland squeeze it firmly into a ball.

a handful of dirt

If it sticks together, it’s still too wet or it may be theclayvariety. If you try to work wetsoilit will compact hard as a rock. Let the garden dry out for a few days longer, especially if it’s been a wet spring, and test it again. If the ball falls apart easily then thesoilis dry enough to be worked. Once it passes the ’ball test’ you’ll have to check it’s temperature to see if it’swarmenough for the seeds.

  • Dig 8 inches down (20 cm) at a point near the middle of the garden and put your hand in the soil. You can feel if thesoilhas warmed up or is still chilly to the touch.
chilly seedling
  • Refer to the back of your seed packets to see if they prefer to be planted inwarmor cool soil.
  • If you have seeds that are okay to plant in cool soil, you can jump ahead to planting.
  • For seeds that need warmersoilwait a few days and do the test again.
  • If you want to help thesoilwarm up faster, put down a layer of thin black plastic.
warm seedling

    After a few sunny days, roll back the cover and do the same test again. Once yoursoiliswarmto the touch you can prepare your garden plot ready for planting. To prepare your garden plot you will need:

    • your garden plan,
    • a measuring tape,
    • a ball of garden twine,
    • four stakes,
    • a shovel,
    • a garden fork
    • a metal rake
    a garden plot
    • Refer to your garden plan to find the exact location of your garden.
    • Use the measuring tape to mark out the length and width of your plot.
    • Put a stake in the ground at each corner and tie the twine around them to surround your garden on all 4 sides.
    • Use a shovel to remove grass, weeds and rocks from your garden plot inside the twine border.
    • If you wish, you can remove the twine.
    • Use the garden fork to turn over thesoiland break up any big lumps.
    • If you haveclaysoil, don’t dig it over, just break up the lumps.
    • Work from the back of the garden toward the front so you don’t compact thesoilyou just worked.
    • Now is a great time to condition thesoilif you need to.
    • Using the teeth and back of a metal rake smooth and level the surface.
    • Your garden is ready for the next step: preparing your rows.

    planning planting


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