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New to Gardening!!! need your help to figure out.......

I am new to gardening; have read few books and watched couple of videos on vegetable gardening. I am curious to know, why the soil is completely turned over before sowing the seeds. Why not dig a small hole and put a seed in it, level it and irrigate it. Is there any scientific reason for turning the soil over completely or is it due to convenience of a gardener (who does not have to dig hundreds of holes) that whole soil should be tilled before sowing the seeds. One would assume that turning soil over will wash away many soil nutrients, but as I said I have no understanding of the field and wouldn't mind a bit of education. Thanks

Full Member
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2005 10:02 pm
Location: New Zealand

What a great question.

Personally, I dig my vegetable garden over so it makes it easier for me when planting.

Because my vegetable garden is so large, digging up hard unturned soil would be a right pain in the back.

Having said that, I do use one of the rhodo' flower beds as my 'vine' vegetable patch. I don't turn the soil there since it is only used once a year, and not all year around unlike the other vegetable garden.
Plus this area is very stoney.

Can you imagine digging a little hole for a carrot seed? :wink:

I'd also imagine that turning the soil would help root plants to have a nice stright root, whereas if the soil is unturned they root may hit a stone in the ground, or find troubles forming a straight root?

Greener Thumb
Posts: 1651
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:21 pm
Location: Quesnel, BC, Canada - Zone 4a

This is one reason why some of us use raised beds for our gardens.
It keeps our good built up garden soil soft and manageable, while leaving the paths free to walk on and not worry about getting trampled down.

Personally, I never dig my raised beds to turn them over. I just keep adding amendments like compost, manure, ground leaves, grass clippings, on top every year, and mulching, and the plants love it! Over the years, because I have never walked on it, and have not mixed my good soil in with the whole area every year, I have wonderful beds of beautiful, healthy soil! :D
Another reason for raised beds is to conserve water - you only water where it is needed instead of all the paths as well.
Just a different idea to think about! :wink:
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

The Helpful Gardener
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Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

Loose aerated soil is easier for plants to root in. Once established I never till or turn again...


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Greener Thumb
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 8:42 pm
Location: Summerville, GA, Zone 7a

Raised beds were a neccessity in Florida (between conserving water and needing real soil instead of sand to raise plants in!). I quickly noticed many of the same good things Val just pointed out about them too. I did turn the top layers of mine while adding new compost, mostly that was so I felt things were "mixed in."

I intend to be building new raised beds here as soon as my back is better - I like feeling like I have better control over the contents of the bed that way, at least for the first foot or so.

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