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Winter takes a toll on the soil. It can cause a change in the soil’s pH level. It can hasten the disappearance of any organic matter in the topsoil. It can speed the anticipated depletion of the soil’s nutrients.

Before conditioning any plot of earth that will be used for growing plants, a smart gardener makes some necessary assessments.

One assessment entail testing the pH of the lot’s earthen contents. That test should show the extent to which it has become either acidic or alkaline in nature. The ideal pH matches the pH of water—7.

A second assessment entails studying the amount of organic matter in the topsoil. In a forest, the topsoil contains many dried leaves, especially at the close of winter. An experienced gardener should strive for a re-creation of what would be found underfoot in a forest.

A third and final test would aid a determination of the level of nutrients within the earthen region that is supposed to be used for growing either small plants or a larger tree. A test of the nitrogen level is of utmost necessity. Visit a local nursery and ask about purchasing the needed testing kit.

Steps to complete in order to prepare the selected and tested plot of ground

Remove any large rocks. Lay them aside, if you intend to create a natural border.

Clear out any debris, any bits of man-made material that has mixed with the topsoil.

Tear out or dig out any weeds. Some weeds can be pulled out; others require a bit of plying, before their roots become loose, allowing for their removal.

Add organic matter. Use any dry leaves or other bits of nature that you might have gathered.

Secure a container of finely ground charcoal. Add its contents to the soil.

Before planting, be sure to aerate the ground. Farmers aerate their fields by using a plow. A home gardener could use a hoe or a claw-shaped gardening tool.

If the ground is going to hold a tree, then it makes more sense to use a shovel, and to dig deep, when loosening the earth, as per Tree Service in San Jose. If you are creating space for a garden in the yard of a new home, then you might want to add some extra nutrients. Consider paying a visit to a shop that sells hydroponics gear. The nutrients in the liquid that feeds the crops in a hydroponics set-up can be poured on the plot, along with the water.

Do not overload the ground. Dilute any solution that you might have made by following the instructions on a purchased package. This step should not have to be repeated on an annual basis, if the treated plot was a new one.