Soil Sieve and Soil Sifters

For the last few weeks now I’ve been layering compost over the raised beds.  It’s a bit on the lumpy side but it doesn’t matter because worms and other orgnanisms living in the top soil will drag it down and break it up further.  However, for making my seed compost next spring I will need something finer and using a soil sieve, or soil sifter if you prefer, will do the trick.  

A soil sieve has many uses.  For making my compost a hand held soil sieve will be fine for the job, I’m not going to be making huge quantities.  A hand soil sifter or potting riddler is also useful for covering seed with a fine tilth and is fantastic for separating seeds.  A friend of mine said they were good for cleaning gravel, I must admit it has never occurred to me to clean gravel but…!  If you have stony soil or soil that contains a great deal of debris or weeds then a larger soil sieve is probably the order of the day, it is a bigger job and so you need something either self supporting like this rotary soil sieve pictured to the left from Crocus or a least something you can balance over a wheelbarrow. 

This rotary soil sieve sits comfortably in a wheel barrow or can be used free standing.  It is ideal for sifting soil that is stony or very weedy but also can be used for sifting bonfire ash, manure and compost.  Chuck large particles back in the heap to decompose further.   This weighs 5kg and has a 32cm diameter and is made from steel.  Click here or the image for further details. It is currently reduced from £99.99 to £69.99 this is always a good time of year to pick up gardening bargains.  


There is, of course, something rather beautiful about traditionally made hand held soil sieves.   This selection of soil sifters, hand made from beechwood by English craftsmen, also from Crocus come in three grades, with mesh that is 1/4 inch wide, 1/2 inch wide and 1/8 inch wide.  Each one measures 45cm in diameter and costs £24.99.  A small traditional potting riddle is also available for £14.99. To view more of  these beautiful soil sifters click here or click the image pictured to the right  to find out more.  Also available for soil sifting types on a budget is a interchangeable dual screen soil sieve at £7.49, which I’m sure will do the job just as well.   

Soil sifting can be hard work so be selective and target your efforts where they are most needed.  For example some plants will grow quite happily on stony soil and it is silly to fight against nature, depending on your soil type and location you may find that stones always rise into the top soil no matter what you do.  But at least you will also have mineral rich soil, which is good news for most vegetables.  

While root vegetables tend to have a tougher time with stones and you might consider sifting soil in beds where these are situated, unless you are selling your produce to a supermarket it worth remembering that deformed carrots really don’t taste an awful lot different from their perfectly formed counterparts.  





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2 comments to Soil Sieve and Soil Sifters

  • Hi, don’t think I will be cleaning gravel anytime soon! But, we found an old soil sifter (thank heavens for the Spanish tendancy to dump ye olde things that still work!) and it is useful for potting compost.

  • goo

    No, the gravel thing is kind of strange I agree! But soil sieves are definitely the thing for good quality home-made potting compost. Glad to see the DBs are still resourceful and frugal!

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