After digging out all the poplars and removing the cinder blocks, I was finally ready to move onto the more normal aspects of prepping my herb garden. First, I had to loosen the soil. Since it was so heavily compacted from the cinder blocks, this took a couple of days. On the first day, I whacked at the ground with a long-handled claw to loosen the soil as much as I could before putting the sprinkler on it. Once the water had a chance to soak in, it was easier to break through the clumps on the second day.
After the soil had been loosened enough that it looked like a garden bed instead of a garden path, I spread compost over it. Normally, I just put a strip of compost in the middle of a bed and spread it out evenly. Since the soil had been so maltreated here, though, I poured it out at about 2″deep throughout the entire bed. Then I went over it with the claw again. (I repeat this step a lot.)
Now I was ready for my secret weapon: my broadfork.
By using a broadfork, I was able to penetrate far into the soil without destroying the worm tunnels that are also working to loosen the soil.
Finally, I went over it with the claw one last time to smooth everything out.
When I began creating this herb garden, it was to get my lavender out of its pot. However, transplanting it will have to wait until next month. I will probably also transplant some of my lemon thyme as well, since it is beginning to crowd one of my rose bushes.
In the meantime, I scattered dill seed, hoping that it will take off faster than the weeds will.
As all gardeners know, that is a war that is never won.