Register with GEF for FREE to enjoy these great benefits! 

    • member only contests and raffles

    • sustainability program news and updates

    • significant discounts at GEF Institute

Note: If you have problems registering, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Taking a GEF Institute Course? Login by clicking here.






Join Us

Sign Up for National Green Week!
Please note: Your privacy is very important to GEF. We do not share or sell any of your data.  It is with the sole purpose of providing you with relevant information that GEF will contact you.

Preparing the SoilIf you decide to plant in the ground directly, you should first complete a soil test to ensure soil quality.

From there, here is how to get it done!

You will need the following supplies to prepare the ground:

  • Garden spades
  • A rotary tiller (locate a rental, or hire someone locally to the job)
  • Yard waste bags
  • Garden stakes and twine (for edged beds)
  • A hose (for circular beds)
  • Tarp (optional - this is if you would like to start a separate compost pile for grass)
  • Compost
    For purchased compost, calculate the amount needed using a soil calculator- simply enter the square footage of your bed, and the # of inches of compost that you would like to till into your soil  (4-5 inches is recommended). Your will then be given the cubic yardage of compost needed.

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Mow the grass as low as possible before removing all of the sod and grass.

  2. For an edged bed, use the garden stakes and twine to create an outline on the grass – for a round bed, use the hose to form a circular shape.

  3. Using the garden spades, follow the outside of the twine (or hose) to cut straight down into the soil.

  4. Put aside the stakes, twine, or hose. Till the entire plot with the roto-tiller.

  5. Form a separate compost pile of the patches of grass and sod (they would overwhelm your bin!). Layer them with their roots side facing up, sprinkle with water, and let them decompose. At the end of the day, cover them with the tarp.

  6. Cub Scouts Clear the LandAs you work, remove any pebbles, stones or other debris. Pull out weeds and roots; dispose in yard waste bags.

  7. Add your calculated amount of compost (about 4-5 inches across the total square footage of the bed; if purchasing compost, use a soil calculator to determine the total number of cubic yards needed). Rake and dig into the soil.

  8. Return the excess soil to the bed, and smooth out with garden hoes and rakes to form an even top layer.

  9. Congratulations - you are now ready to plant your garden!

Garden hintGarden Hint. Plan ahead, and try this alternative for preparing your land. Dump a load of compost/soil mix on to the garden area. Spread it out 6+ inches thick to kill the grass, and the till it after one month.