I am a gardener, but I have terrible soil. My property is rocky and sloped and compacted. If I need to dig a hole, I need a pick-axe before I even touch a shovel. This makes planting really dependent on imported soil.
I used to just make raised beds with soil carted in from other properties, but now I use a low-tech method of sifting out the rocks. What remains is still a bit sandy, but at least I can dig with a trowel.
Step 1: Materials
* Milk crate
* Rocky soil
Step 2: Start shaking
1) Load soil into the milk crate, enough that you can lift it. No more than half full.
2) Pick up the crate, and stand up straight.
3) Start shaking until all the small stuff has fallen out.
4) Empty the rocks elsewhere and repeat.