If there is one thing the #LockdownSA (which is in line with the global shutdown due to Covid-19) has taught us is that time should never be taken for granted, furthermore the imminent and sudden threat of food security is something that not only the government should be concerned about, each and every citizen of this nation should too. As a continuation of our previous article, we are now going to discuss the process of preparing soil for gardening in your own space at home.

Testing the soil moisture content by hand
Image: Internet

Healthy soil is the basis of healthy plants and a healthy environment. When garden soil is in good shape there is less need for fertilizers or pesticides. As author and respected gardener Frank Tozer writes, ” when building soil, you not only improving your plants health, but you also improve your own”.

Adding organic matter in the form of compost and aged manure, or using mulch or growing cover crops (green manure), is the best way to prepare soil for planting. Adding chemical fertilizers will replenish only certain nutrients and do nothing for maintaining good friable soil.


1. Stake an area for your garden that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight daily.

Vegetables need full sunlight in order to grow healthy, which usually means 6-8 hours each day. Find a place in your yard that has enough space for the vegetables you want to grow and receives direct sunlight throughout the day.

2.  Loosen the soil to a depth of 20cm -25cm.

Use a spade or a shovel to dig 20cm -25cm into the ground. Turn the soil over so the top soil is in the bottom of your plot. Continue loosening all of the soil in the plot, and break apart large clods of dirt until all of the soil has a similar size and consistency.

3.  Squeeze the soil in your hand to see if it crumbles easily.

Put on gardening gloves so you don’t get any skin irritation from any dirt or plants. Grab a handful of soil and squeeze it tightly in your hands. The soil should form a loose ball that crumbles apart when you squeeze on it hard.

4.  Test the drainage of your soil.

Dig a hole in your garden plot that’s 30cm in a diameter and 30cm deep and fill it with water using your hose. Let the hole drain overnight. Before filling it to the top again measure the water level after an hour to see how much drained. Proper draining soil will drain 5.1cm of water every hour.

Backyard farming as it offers a lot of benefits – a lot of the people – the youth in particular still consider farming as a job for the illiterate – forgetting that pretty much everything in their grocery cabinet is from a farm. Well here at The Village Mag, we want to change that perception. The following weeks will continue to give our readers just some of the many reasons why they should consider backyard farming.

For a small garden, the use of pitchfork should be sufficient

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