How to Filter Garden Soil? (Explained for Beginners)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Filtering can be done using a sturdy thick mesh that is held by the edges, you use this sift to filter garden soil by rolling the soil back and forth within the frame.

The foundation of a healthy reproductive garden will ultimately start with having healthy soil.

Filtering garden soil is beneficial although it might not be a necessity, it will however help in the overall well-being of the soil’s health.

Filtering the soil will make it a better medium without all the lumps and clumps.

Filtering soil will help you get rid of stones and debris from your soil. Sifting your soil is an excellent way to refine your soil and make a good foundation for your garden project.

The basic idea of filtering garden soil is to cleanse the soil by removing large objects from the soil like broken glass, debris, and soil,

doing the filtering will not only improve the texture of the soil but it will also loosen it to allow for better air and water penetration.

The benefits of filtering the soil include improved drainage and moisture retention so your plant root is more likely to get the needed water and nutrients without becoming rotten or waterlogged.

Should I Sift My Garden Soil?

How to Filter Garden Soil

You don’t need to sift your garden,

sifting your garden soil will only improve the appearance of your soil and also improve drainage and moisture retention,

after sifting your garden, do ensure you add compost, manure, and other organic matter to your soil, even if it is once in a year.

Adding compost, manure, and other organic compost will help in building soil tilth and general plant health.

You can also add organic mulch like pine needles, rice hull, cocoa bean hull, and even leaf mold are good organic mulch that will help your soil in retaining moisture and also receiving air.

How Do I Filter My Garden Soils?

The texture of your soils will improve greatly when you can remove the rocks and trees through filtering.

For your plants to grow healthy, they need air and your plant root will not be to penetrate tough soil.

Healthy soil helps in filtering water and nutrients, boosting plant growth, etc

Using a soil sifter to filter your garden soil does not require much work,

just place the soil sifter over a wheelbarrow, shovel the sand on top of it and then shake it to get the smaller particles of soil to get into the wheelbarrow,

once you’re through, you can drop off the larger particles to the side and continue the process until your whole soil is filtered.

What are The Advantages of Filtering Garden Soil?

There are many advantages to filtering your soil and taking care of your soil, the healthier the soil is, the more productive it would be, and the more products it would yield, there is no magic about this.

Soil health matters if you intend growing diseased free plants that will serve as a source of nourishment to you.

Some Advantages of filtering garden soil include:

  • Improve soil drainage system
  • Helps in aerating the soil
  • Improves soil water retention
  • It reduces waste and also reduces chemical use

Here is an article I wrote on how to fumigate garden soil

What Is The Best Garden Soil Sifter?

Most garden soil is filled with a lot of debris, debris ranging from glass to stones, to woods, old coins, nails, etc.

For your plants in the garden to have a chance of survival and growth to the surface,

they will need soil without all this debris in them, as this debris will end up hindering their progress to the surface and this is not good for your young plants.

In getting rid of this debris from the soil we will need to make use of what is called a garden sifter.

Garden sifters or soil sifter has been in use for a very long time to improve the quality of soil by getting rid of all the debris in the soil that will hamper your plant’s growth.

Apart from sifting soil, garden sifters can also be used to sift compost and remove lumps from them so they can be added to your soil to enhance the soil’s productivity by increasing its nutrients and organic matter.

There are different types of garden sifts produced, you can find garden sifts with fine and large gratings to help you in sifting your soil.

Some of the best garden soil sifters, large and smaller for their functions are listed below:

Apollo Gardening 1/4-inch 6mm Metal Garden Riddle/Sieve Mesh 76463

The Apollo Gardening Sieve is ideal for removing stones and debris from the soil, it can also be used to sow seeds, it is durable and coated with powder steel.

Clarke Rotary Soil Sieve CRS400

The Clarke Rotary Soil Sieve is ideal to be used in the garden, you can use it to sieve soil and compost to get smooth, fine results. It has a spring-loaded handle that applies pressure to the compost or soil forcing it through the mesh.

  • It is a durable mild steel construction
  • It has a 400mm sieve area
  • Quick and easy to use.

UPP 2 in 1 Garden Sieve

With the UPP garden sieve, you can Organize stones, lumps, debris, and weeds from your garden soil with simple steps and add the now purified soil to your plants. Idealise the soil for growing young plants.

  • Optimize your soil and dissolve nutrient-rich soil from stones or separate impurities such as lumps of soil or weeds from the bed.
  • For fine sand, use the smaller mesh size and free
  • fairly sturdy plastic sieve and did what was expected.

Spear and Jackson RIDDLE Steel Frame Garden Riddle, Steel

  • Ideal for Sifting and removing stone
  • It has chrome-plated steel for durability
  • It has a 330mm diameter
  • It has a 10mm square base plates hole.

PERFECT Garden Sieves Plastic Mesh Soil Sieve

This is an ideal and practical gardening hand tool. It is a seedling sieve that is suitable for gardens, balconies, greenhouses or lawns, etc.

This garden sieve is sort stones, lumps of earth debris, and weeds from your garden soil with simple movements and adds the now cleaned soil back to your plants Idealize the soil for growing young plants. A

  • A Garden sieve is mainly made of sturdy, non-toxic, safe, and durable PP material for a long service
  • Soil sieve can be used for screening in gardening
  • A Garden riddle can also be used as a drain basket

Also check out this article I wrote in using garden soil in grow bags

How to Make a Soil Sifter?

Sifting can be done with a sturdy thick mesh screen held by the edges or if your garden is not much, you can make use of a simple handheld screen.

The first step to take in making a soil Sifter is getting the base.

The base holds up the tray for sifting, for it to work, it needs to be sturdy and at the same time easy to carry around,

get plywood that are fairly wide so you can use them on the horizontal side to help with bracing, on the post, you can make use of angled aluminum as they are lightweight and rigid, a measurement of 2X2 will be just fine.

On the corner of each post, you can put a 3″ deck screw to loop the cord from the tray over.

The next step is designing the Tray, the tray is where all the sieving takes place, so it needs to be lightweight to enable you to carry it on and off the base.

It has to be sturdy because it gets filled up with sand and stones and also gets shaken a dozen times to get rid of the dirt on it.

The tray sides should be made of 1X4s screwed together with a metal angle bracket.

For the screen using two layers of hardware cloths, one should be a ½” hole and the other ¼” hole.

After screwing the side together, place the tray face down and lay the hardware cloth on it, screw plywood onto the bottom of the tray,

ensure the screw go through the holes of the screen,

set the lengths so the tray sits about two inches above the base of the crossbar, ensure the handles rest on the crossbar at the other end to keep the tray stable while filling it with sand to filter it.

Should I Remove Stones From Soil?

Yes, stones do not add any kind of benefit to your soil,

they rather cause harm to your plants when they are much.

Some risks you will face when keeping stones in your soil include destroying garden equipment, killing your plant, cut and scratching your hands.


Filtering your soil from stones and other debris will make you have healthy soil to grow healthy and productive plants.

When filtering soil, you may come across large lumps of soil, ensure you break them into smaller particles so they can be filtered.

Filtering soil helps your soil retain moisture and also the ability of air to get to the roots of your plants.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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