If you’re putting in a new garden, replanting sod or preparing a new garden plot, you should turn over the soil and kill off any living grass or weeds.
Here’s a simple, methodical technique to help you get it done faster.
Rent a rotary tiller.
Well, okay, maybe you’d rather have the satisfaction of doing it by hand. This technique is just as effective, and really not that difficult. All you need is a good sharp, sturdy spade, and optionally, a wheelbarrow. As long as you keep it organized (and the soil’s not too tough or rocky, you’ll see the progress you’ve made and get it done in time for lunch.
First, mark out the plot. Then dig a 1′-wide trench across one end of the plot to the depth of the spade. As you go, pull out any large weeds as the soil is loosened. Put the earth you dig into your wheelbarrow, or place it just outside the plot. You’ll use it later.
Now, dig another trench beside the first one, pulling out larger weeds as you go. Turn each spadeful over into the first trench so that the surface is now upside down in the trench, about 10″ down.
(If you’re planting the plot afterward, you might want to spread compost or other additives over the entire plot after digging the first trench. Then, before digging each trench, brush the compost off it and into the previous trench.)
Continue on to the end of the plot, then come back for the wheelbarrow and fill the final trench with this soil. Straighten up, mop your brow, and grab that lunch.