This is the hardest part of growing your own vegetables. It is hard labor to dig up the soil and turn it. It is even more difficult if you have grass or rocks in the place where you want to have your garden. If you have grass, for example, you will want to dig up the grass and put it in the wheelbarrow, taking it to a compost heap in your yard and getting rid of it. You are going to need a lot more soil in the area as you will have several inches dug into the ground when you are finished.
Use the wheelbarrow to transport the grass or weeds that you did up and get rid of them. The soil for your garden should be as pure as possible and devoid of any weeds, rocks or clay. If you are stuck with clay under the grass, you can turn it over with the spade and mix in some good top soil.
START BY DIGGING
Start by digging out a small section of the ground and continue going until you have dug up the entire garden. It is best to do this a day after a rain. Not just after a rain, otherwise it will be very muddy. But if you do this after it has rained within a few days, the ground will be a lot softer and easier to manage.
Once you get rid of all of the rocks, weeds and grass, you can then start to turn over the soil. You do this by using the spade to dig up the soil and then flipping it over. You should do this throughout the entire garden. You can use the end of the spade to chop up any clumps in the soil. The soil needs to be as smooth as possible before you plant.
After you have turned over all of the soil, use the garden hoe to chop up the soil even more. You can make the soil have a fine consistency if you so choose, but you have to work at it. You have to keep chopping and tilling the soil.
If you want to have the best results with your vegetable garden, you need to get the soil to the point where it falls easily between your hands when you pick it up. The two ways to do this is to dig out the garden a half a foot down and fill it with top soil, or use the soil that you have, chopping it up as much as you can before you plant. The latter is the least expensive option and, despite the fact that it sounds difficult, is just as hard as digging into the ground and pulling up clay.
USE TOP SOIL
Once you have the soil to the point where it has all been turned over and chopped up, is rid of clumps of dirt, rocks and weeds or grass, you can then add several bags of top soil to the mix. Top soil is a fine grain of soil that will enable your plants grow even better. You can also choose fertilizer soil. This will also allow your plants to grow well.
You want to give your plants a boost by adding in a store bought soil as this will make it easier for them to adjust to their new home. Fertilizer may not seem like something that you want to handle, but it is organic and does work very well to allow for plants to grow to their maximum potential.
After you have added bags of top soil or fertilizer, take the garden rake and then smooth the ground over. You should use the rake to mix in all of the soil and make sure that the soil is flat and easy for planting. It should be loose but even.
CREATE ROWS FOR WALKING
Once you have done this, you can make rows between the areas where you want to plant the crops. The crops should sit up higher than these rows that will allow you to walk between the crops for maintenance, and also allow any rain to fall off into the rows. Creating mini-drainage ditches in your garden is not absolutely necessary, but can help you if you live in an area where there is a lot of rain.
While water is naturally important for crops to grow, too much can end up flooding out your garden. In most areas, there is not a lot of rain in the summer months, so this is not crucial. Be sure, however, to visualize a row between the planting rows where you will be able to walk and take care of the plants as well as harvest the vegetables that grow in the garden.
PROTECT YOUR GARDEN FROM ANIMALS
Once you have properly tilled the soil and prepared it for planting, you need to use chicken wire or some sort of fencing around the garden area. This will keep the rabbits and other critters out of your garden. Rabbits will have a field day with your crops if you do not protect them. If you are growing vegetables to save money, it hardly makes sense to give away half of your crops to the rabbits.
Chicken wire will keep out any animals such as rabbits, raccoons or possum in the area. It may not look attractive, but you can always back it up with a more attractive looking picket fence if you feel the need. Just remember that the wooden fences are useless when it comes to keeping out rabbits and other creatures as they gnaw right through. Chicken wire will protect your garden from animals.
After you have quartered off the garden with your wire and the soil is ready for planting, you are ready to start planting your vegetables.