Picture of Milk-crate soil sifter
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

Picture of Materials
*  Shovel
*  Milk crate
*  Rocky soil

Step 2: Start shaking

Picture of Start shaking
crate after.JPG
soil before.JPG
soil after.JPG
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.
pam8193 years ago
Gee thanks, I was thinking of making me one of those sifters using wire and wood, but when I saw your posting I thought now that's a lot easier. I think I might add a piece of wire in the bottom to help catch rocks though.

thanks again.

jon.karak (author)  pam8193 years ago
Most of the crates I came across will screen for 3/4-inch aggregate. If you want something finer, then adding a sheet of "hardware cloth" might be the easiest solution. Thanks for the thumbs-up!