Make Your Own Topsoil Screenercomments (2) June 6th, 2009
As any gardener knows, much of a garden's success depends on the soil. Ideally it should be free of rocks and debris and loosened to allow for proper drainage. You can buy topsoil that's been screened, but depending on the size of your garden that could be an expensive option. Another alternative is to work the soil by hand, literally digging up and turning the soil while removing the rocks and other debris. It will get the job done, but it can be backbreaking work. It was while on all fours preparing the soil for carrot seed that I looked over at the compost bin and realized there was a screener right in front of me.
We have an open air compost bin, made from three old pallets that form a U-shaped bin at one end of the garden. In an effort to keep the dogs out of the compost we attached some hardware cloth across the front of the bin that can be opened to make turning the compost easier. By taking the 'door' off our compost bin and laying it over the top of a wheelbarrow, we created a portable topsoil screener. Working in sections, we dug up the soil, placed it on top of the hardware cloth, then worked the soil through the wire mesh until we were left with fine, loose soil in the wheelbarrow and rocks on top of the hardware cloth. Because we were planting carrot seeds at the time, we mixed some sand in with our screened soil before putting it back in the trench, but this method can be adapted to whatever you happen to be planting.
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posted in: screening topsoil, portable topsoil screener