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Soil Improvement and Preparation

Soil improvement

Any type of soil can be improved with soil amendments. Heavy clay or sandy soils can be improved by adding organic material such as compost, manure, or leaf mold. Texture is an important consideration when choosing an amendment. An amendment that is granular and fine grained is important for container mixes. For gardens, a more coarse-grained amendment can improve drainage and aeration. Work amendments into soil by rototilling, raking, or double-digging.

Four easy steps for soil preparation.


  1. Cultivate and rake.
  2. Irrigate the plot deeply.
  3. Remove any new weed seedlings.
  4. Plant Tomato plant while soil is still moist.


Soil preparation

The preparation of your soil is just as important as adding fertilizer and soil amendments. Prior to cultivation, make sure the soil is moist but not thoroughly wet. Then cultivate the top 1 to 2 inches of soil and rake the area to remove weeds and old crop debris. Be sure to dig out roots. Next irrigate the plot deeply to encourage the germination of weed seeds. In a week or two, after a substantial number of weeds have germinated, cultivate the area again to kill the weed seedlings. You may use a shovel, rototiller, metal bow rake, or all of them together. Be sure to break up the clods in the soil, as seeds planted in cloddy soil will germinate poorly and won't live long because the soil dries too quickly. Form soil into beds if desired, and plant while soil is still moist.

For more information on this topic Downloead the FREE UC ANR publication:
Growing Tomatoes in the Home Garden