My question is not about depth, but area. For a given individual plant, do I amend the soil for an area the size of its seed spacing recommendation (12 in., etc.)? Or is less required? I am a complete beginner. Thanks!


  • Which plant? Some need more, some need less, some none. Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 0:06
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    At the moment it-s indeterminate tomatoes,but I was hoping for a general rule. Thanks for answering. Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 21:47

2 Answers 2


You should amend the soil to the width of the expected growth of the root mass. So, if you have very hard soil, and you only loosen the soil to the size of the existing roots, then you can potentially create a pot made of impenetrable soil surrounding the root ball.

  • Ok. Thank you. Is there a way to know the size of the root mass at maturity? Is it the same as the spacing recomendation (size of plant at maturity)? Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 1:18
  • That sounds like a good starting point. What are you trying to plant? Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 1:40
  • At the moment,indeterminate tomatoes, but I have other plans,too. Just trying to learn all I can about it. Thanks a lot for your answer. Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 21:48

The best is to prepare an entire area thoroughly before planting by digging it all over properly, incorporating organic composts if you feel its appropriate for whatever you're growing. That might mean a whole planting bed, or a border, but its best to dig it all first, let it settle for a week or so, then its all ready to plant, rather than 'spot' digging where you want plants to grow. Only digging small parts means the plants may be restricted by compacted or unamended soil surrounding where you've dug - plant roots want to go where the nutrients and water are, and that's often hard to predict, especially with larger plants.

  • I think I am asking what thoroughly a d properly mean exactly in terms of inches in area per plant in the case of only one or inches per plant on the ends of a row. Hope that makes sense... Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 21:51
  • Erm, not sure it does make sense - you seem to saying what about small plants right on the end of a cultivated area, right next to an uncultivated area. If that's the case, you wouldn't put something that close to an uncultivated area - presumably any plants you're putting in will grow and spread, so there'd be a gap between the final plant and the end of the cultivated area. That gap depends on the final width or spread of the plant you've put in, so if you plant gets, say, 2 feet wide, the closest you plant to an uncultivated area would be a foot to 18 inches away.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 21:55
  • Ok - Yes, I did understand that. Just want to make sure that - say in the case of only planting one plant - limiting the area for which I amend the soil to the size of the above-ground plant at maturity is going to provide enough amended soil for the roots of the plant. It sounds like you're saying yes to that. Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 14:40
  • Yep, I am - though you haven't said what the plants are!
    – Bamboo
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 15:11
  • Tomatoes right now, but plans for more. Thank you so much. Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 0:32

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