How to Make and Use a DIY Soil Grader.

How to make and use a DIY soil grader.



DIY soil grader!

What you need.

A wood pallet with most of the wood removed.

A couple of ropes.

The ability to act like an Ass.  Or horse.  Or mule.  Take your pick.

Just drag it behind you.

Also if you could have weird hair and extremely pale legs, that’d be great.



  1. Mack says:

    Hehe,yep,when you need it done you improvise.
    Only thing I can say is to find some sandals made from recycled tires so you could also call your self a Tractor! :)

  2. Thank you for making me smile. I really needed it today. Love your posts!

    Enjoy your summer. I look forward to hearing more.

    Best regards,

    Mary Ellen Hills

    P.S. And yes, I am redoing my website – great product – horrible website. New one coming, really!

  3. Kathleen says:

    After reading the last post and this one, I feel the dire need to take a nap. All that exercise is SO tiring! LOL!

    You go Girl!

  4. Skylor says:

    well played

  5. Teddee Grace says:

    This reminds me of the time my father plowed a field wet, turning it into a jumble of rock-hard lumps of soil. It was my job to go over it with a tractor pulling a harrow in an attempt to break up the rock hard lumps. The harrow kept breaking and my father, who was working across the field attempting to do the same thing with a disc, would have to stop his tractor and walk all the way across the field to wire the harrow together so I could have one more go. I was damned if I did and damned if I didn’t. It was not a happy experience!

  6. Kitten Caboodle says:

    As a fellow skim-milk-colored gal, may I suggest the following:

    Hempz Touch of Summer for FAIR Skin Tones. I just checked and they sell it on Average price in the States is around $11/tube. I’ve gotten it as cheap as $8 and I’ve spent as much as $13-14 when I was desperate. Worth. Every. Penny. I find you can get better deals when they’re bundled into multiples. Don’t buy it on eBay – there are too many knockoffs.

    This stuff changed my life. It gives just the slightest (flattering) hint of color. Not a tan really – it just dulls the screaming white glare and masks the blue undertones. I have to moisturize anyway, so now I’m multi-tasking! In the summer, I sometimes pick up a tube of the same in the Medium skin tone and mix 1/2 and 1/2 in my palm before applying. It’s a nice, natural-looking color. No streaking, no weird palm stains. Straight Medium tends to be a bit too dark on me (and it builds up more on the rougher patches on the knees).

    Seriously, it’s the cat’s pajamas.

    • Mark says:

      It doesnt make you look orange ? Im also a “So white Im clear.” person. I look pink though, not blue. It should be called unfair skin

  7. Ruth says:

    Brilliant idea… Of course, I would probably grab the camera and tie Leo (whoever he is) to the grader instead, but then again… Leo is probably not strong enough for the job…

    Go Karen! (Keep clicking, Leo… Keep clicking…)

  8. Markus says:

    Maybe more like a reindeer, they also served a pretty important purpose! You can really crunch up the dirt clods and elevate the rocks if you fence staple some chainlink fence under it and maybe put tire on it (on the wood parts) for a little weight. Run around a few dozen times and you’re set. With a little help, you could finish early enough, play a few innings of softball on it, grade it again and start gardening.
    Ya gotta have some fun

  9. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    You’re too cute to for me to call you a jackass..donkey maybe…yeah..much better..

  10. Jamieson says:

    “Grade” Eh Jackass

  11. Kristen says:

    Great idea! We’ve also used a section of chain link fence before. I’ve also heard of using a bed mattress spring. You are going to much more work than I do! My goal: put the plants/seeds in the ground. But my garden is tucked away and the only people who see it are my neighbors.
    Have fun!

  12. Christie says:

    I love your hair! And who needs to work out when you’re doing sherpa work like this?!

  13. Teresa Jennings Richardson says:

    I spent last Friday and Saturday digging out the grass along my fence line and edges of my garden plot. I was tired of pulling off the grass tops as they grew. I dug down and got roots and runners. It was hard, tedious, and felt so good as I looked back and had nice clean straight edges with nary a blade of grass inside my little patch. My hands are still sore and barely close, thanks to those angry sore joints, but there are no weeds in my garden. The corn, okra, tomatoes, rosemary, oregano, peppers, squash, pumpkin, cantaloupe, onion, cabbage, strawberries, basil, string beans, and kale thank me. So does my brother who came and hauled off 8 baskets of roots and runners to plant in a shady patch of his yard that just refuses to grow grass. (Sure, I could have added that to the compost pile, but I really didn’t want more grass growing–and some of that would have rooted in my compost–and he did. If some of that grass lives in his shady patch, I have someone who will break up my garden forever–just to get more grass to cut. Two possible winners here.) I need to go pick the string beans and be sure no new grass is brave enough to come up in the area I have declared a “Grass Free” Zone before it rains this morning.

  14. Wendy says:

    Have fun planting.

  15. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    Too funny! No one commented on your biceps…no wonder your arms look so good.

  16. brenda says:

    you are an awesome jackass!!!!

  17. SuzyMcQ says:

    San Tropez Self-Tanner and mitt. Worth it’s weight in gold. Even looks great on your face.

  18. Dave says:

    It may look funny, but that soil grader is a good idea.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Dave. Clearly you’re one of the few who actually gardens here. ;) ~ karen

    • Grammy says:

      Yes! I can’t imagine strolling along, dropping seeds as I go, in a garden plot that has just been dug.

      All the people making fun of this procedure should be required to do some kind of penance. Like go back and read some prior posts (a quick look at yesterday’s would reveal a picture of a garden plot clearly in need of some work before planting) and then write a report on what they’ve learned. It would need to be a minimum of a thousand words.

      And they would be forbidden from sending the report to Karen, because she’s busy doing stuff. Each one should send it to his or her mother, who will tell them they need to come over and help in the garden and learn a thing or two if they ever want a home-cooked meal at her house again.

  19. Let me hear you bray!

  20. Rose says:

    You are going to have the prettiest garden out there! This pic must have been taken about 2 weeks ago because all the trees have burst into leaf by now and the grass has had one cutting already.

  21. marilyn says:

    you really have waay too much time on your hands

  22. Ev Wilcox says:

    Maybe she is trying to get on the cover of a gardening magazine. The feature would be “The flattest, most level garden”! It does look nice Karen. Happy Gardening!

  23. Alice says:

    Wow! Look at the trees in the background. It is still early Spring where Karen lives. I’m in Zone 7 and we are in full summer already.

  24. Jody says:

    You make me laugh like a jackass.

  25. Mary W says:

    I think I understand the leveling – you have giant clods of dirt and the seeds would just get too deep? Florida is just sand so the leveling is not necessary – but the compost is. Everything (water included) just running down through it like a sieve so the compost helps hold it for a little while. I have one question – for next week when you can read and answer – why don’t you plant some sort of cover crop to till under? Seems that may help with the clotting? Or maybe nothing helps with that – at least it isn’t rocks. Community gardens are wonderful!

  26. Tigermom says:

    This could be a new source of income if you can convince the neighborhood kids to pay you to pull them around your plot on that. The extra weight would help with the leveling process. ; )

  27. Glo says:

    I’m not sure serious grading is necessary for a garden plot. I just dig as much compost in as I can and then rake it out flat. I try to keep the foot traffic to the pathway and let the garden bed soil alone. You really don’t want to compact the soil too much. But I admire your tenacity. I’m sitting here popping Advil because I was moving rocks yesterday. Gardening isn’t for sissies!

  28. maggie van sickle says:

    looks easy enough to be a jackass. A project for my next years garden that is if I get through this year. Just “sayin”. Karin

  29. IRS says:

    OK, everyone else is making snarky comments, which is usually my job, so I’ll play it straight. Why are you going to so much trouble to make everything perfectly flat? It looks like that plot of land was pretty darn level to begin with. It’s not as if your community garden is gripping a mountain slope in the Himalayas. And the fact that you are shown doing this yourself, with nary a Dirt Dude in sight, means that even they think this is unnecessary. Drop the seeds in the ground already, so you can drop the ice cubes in your drink. Oh, right. I forgot, you don’t drink.

    • Ann says:

      Maybe she took the picture after she did all the hard work of getting it graded!! I think this is brilliant. After we till it is always so uneven which makes it hard to actually do any planting of smaller seeds. Now if I could just figure out how to hook my Great Pyrennes to pull it for me. Cause it would work even better if someone stood on the pallet and the other pulled.

    • Karen says:

      And I’m guessing you don’t garden. ;) ~ karen

      • IRS says:

        Hey, I pretend to garden, thank you very much. Actually, since my Toronto-area garden is both tiny (land prices here are beyond extortionate) as well as hard packed clay soil, my gardening efforts are confined to pots and planters, and raised beds. There was no way I was going to break my back, and cut severely down on my martini drinking time, by digging up my yard to break up the clay, and amending the soil. Therefore I got a very nice gentleman to build me 2 foot high raised beds. I then ordered a few tons of nice soil, and had him fill the new raised beds with it. Since the sight of me in tiny shorts was of no interest to him, I had to pay him in cold cash, but at least I got to sit and watch the work being done. With a martini in hand, of course. But back to my original comment; your previous post that showed you with the giant Lee Valley pasta fork clearly showed the garden plot as being very flat – both in the tilled, and untilled sections. Hence my belief that you were going to unnecessary trouble. But carry on – I shall watch you work via your photos, while I sip my martini.

    • Cynthia Jones says:

      She drink Diet Coke, so she can stop now and drop some cubes in her Coke. Maybe the girl likes a workout.

  30. Cynthia Jones says:

    Very nice quad definition.

    Hey, I just bought three bottles of magic stuff to remove every brown spot from my head to toes and I will start on my legs, so enjoy the lack of sun damage.

    You could sit on it and get Leo to pull.

    • sheila says:

      OK Cynthia, I’ll bite….What’s the name of the magic stuff that removes brown spots from your body? I need it badly, lol.


      • Cynthia Jones says:

        It’s called AG3derm. Not sure if it’s manners to post this, so remove if it’s not Karen. :)

        I’ll let you know if it takes them off in an elegant way or burns a hole down to the bone. Hey, anything for not looking like I am 60.

    • Grammy says:

      I’m old. I just live with brown spots. But I had to visit the dermatologist recently for a skin cancer checkup and as he looked for suspicious spots (found one, fixed it, everything’s cool) I asked him about the spots on my forearms and hands. I said, are these anything to worry about, or are they just “old lady spots”?

      His reply: We call them “wisdom spots”. I love my dermatologist now. What a crafty young fellow he is.

    • sheila says:

      Cynthia –

      Did you start using the AG3derm yet? If so, how are the results?


      P.S. If you’d rather email me privately, my email is [email protected]

  31. barbee says:

    If only you had spider veins like me-then you could really rock the look!

  32. Amber Elliott says:

    Trust me when I say this Karen, they could be a lot worse….errr…I mean paler.
    My friends and family have all asked me at one point during the summer months, in all seriousness, when I dare don shorts:
    1: “Um. Why are you wearing white tights under your shorts?”
    2: “Hey, have you tested to see if those things glow in the dark?”
    3: “Aaahhhhh! The light! My eyes! It’s blinding!!!”
    Or the best one yet from the other day;
    4: “I think they are just so bright that they reflect the sun & therefore are incapable of getting tanned…?”
    If you ask me, you’re rocking those shorts!! ;)

    • Angie S says:

      I say #4 to my Hubby, shield my eye’s, crying and running away, “You’re singeing me!” He just loves it.

  33. Grammy says:

    Cool idea.

    As for the legs, you’re Canadian. Don’t you spend a lot of months of the year just trying to keep from freezing to death, bundled up indoors by the fire? Nobody expects you to be tanned at the beginning of garden season.

    • Carla says:

      Here is my favorite joke – it is a Minnesota joke, but I am sure it works just as well for Canada:

      Q: What did the Minnesotan say to the Pillsbury Dough Boy?

      A: Nice tan!

  34. SusanR says:

    Really? That’s it? No back story? Not arrested for public lewdness and assigned community service grading gardens? Lost a bet? Trying to make extra money for your cat’s prosthetic leg? That doesn’t look like your backyard. A woman’s workcamp? Gulag? More info please!

    • Ann Brookens says:

      Susan R, the back story is yesterday’s post on her community garden. Karen doesn’t have time to post explanations; she is prostrate from manually dragging a pallet around her huge garden!

  35. Angela Stephens says:

    You are hysterical! You get soo much done in a day…and now I know why. All the pea patch men ;) and the balls to act like a jack ass! Love!

  36. Pati Gulat says:

    Didn’t everyone grade dirt like this ???

  37. ruth says:

    It is an honourable look for a true gardener.

  38. Deb says:

    also some blue gloves…which pretty much makes you “Babe, the Blue Ox” of yore.

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