Starting Cultivation of Land on a Farm

Cultivating land requires testing soil, improving it, tilling, and ensuring proper fencing.

long shot of farming field rows covered in tarp with mountain in distance

Treehugger / Dan Amos

The homesteading movement of the 1960s started gaining popularity again in the early 2000s. Even if being a full-time farmer isn't for you, running a small farm is a great way to provide the best vegetables for your family. If you've recently purchased land or decided to use the land you already own to start your own small farm, the next step is to get it ready for said farming. Cultivation of land involves preparing the soil for crops or animals.

This can seem overwhelming if you have never done it before, but we've laid out the simplest steps to get you started. You may need to seek more details on individual steps, but this will give you an overview of the basics for land cultivation on a farm.

Start With Your Soil

display of DIY soil kit on cement planters with various testing solutions and containers

Treehugger / Dan Amos

Before you start plowing up sod, it’s important to know what kind of soil you are working with. You'll want to start by testing your soil. This enables you to improve it and amend it as needed for growing the best crops and pasture grasses for animals. The first steps to prepare your land for planting involve looking at soil texture and fertility and adjusting it as needed. Learn more about soil to make the most of your farm.

How to Prepare the Land for Planting

close low-ground shot of orange metal PTO tiller farm equipment breaking up soil

Treehugger / Dan Amos

Tilling your land for planting a large vegetable garden or crops can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't need to be. For small acreage (under two to three acres), you can use a PTO-driven tiller on your tractor to till the soil. You can also hire someone to do the plowing, disking and harrowing.

Install Fencing for Animals

tight shot of electric fencing in foreground with brown and white cows blurred in background

Treehugger / Dan Amos

If you're thinking of adding animals to your farm, it's a good idea to install fences to keep your animals away from your neighbors and protect them from predators. There are many types of fencing, both electric and non-electric, for containing farm animals. The type you choose is going to depend upon the animal itself. Goats require a high fence because they can jump and they love to do it! Cows need only a few single strands of electric wire to keep them in a pasture. Poultry and sheep can be temporarily contained with portable “electric netting," a plastic mesh with electrified wires embedded in it that is easily set up and moved.

After choosing the type of fencing you need, the next step is installing the fence posts. A post hole auger for your tractor makes the job easier, but there are also manual post hole diggers you can purchase or rent. For electric netting, simply push each post into the ground as you go.

Electric fencing requires a charger which can be connected to electric power or run on solar power or batteries. The size of the charger is determined by how much fencing you have and the “brush load” or the amount of brush and grasses that will be touching the fence. Learn more about the types of fencing you can install on your farm.

View Article Sources
  1. Introduction to Soils.” Penn State Extension.