When is the best time to disk up the ground for a vegetable garden?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Jennifer in Kentucky; As a general rule, soil can be worked anytime of the year except when it is frozen (obviously). You also want to avoid tilling the soil if it is too wet because of compaction issues, which can lead to lack of oxygen movement. We have had such a mild winter that now would be a good time to get your vegetable garden ready for planting. Using disks is a more conventional method of tilling and may not be necessary if you are preparing a smaller garden, but if you have thoughts of going big then hand turning the soil is not feasible. The concern when using this type of equipment is disturbing the deeper layers of soil where beneficial earthworms live and potential erosion problems. There is always going to be controversy concerning the debate of till vs. no-till, but as gardeners we have to decide what is best for our own circumstances. So, to answer your question, go ahead and prepare the vegetable garden now. Spring is just around the corner and cool-season crops will be ready for planting shortly. If you have not had your soil tested, this is always a good idea, so you know what you are dealing with in terms of pH and nutrients. You can have this done for a small fee through your County Cooperative Extension Service. You can tell them you are preparing a vegetable garden and they will take this into account when they give you recommendations for amendments if any are needed. You can visit the Grayson County Web site at http://ces.ca.uky.edu/grayson or contact them at (270) 259-3492. Enjoy your harvest!