Soil sieves (or riddles) are useful for sifting out large lumps from soil, leaf mould and compost, to leave you with a fine material suitable for sowing seeds like salad leaves and sunflowers, or for potting mixes.
You should aim to make your soil sieve slightly bigger than your wheelbarrow so you can quickly work your way through a pile of compost, directly from the heap. Add a personal touch by painting it a colour of your choice.
Follow our five easy steps below, to create your own homemade soil sieve. Or, if you’d prefer to buy a ready-made sieve, we’ve also collated a selection of the best garden sieves on the market right now.
Our soil sieve shopping list
You might already have what you need to get started on making your soil sieve. If you don’t, we’ve done the hard work for you with our handy shopping list.
- 25mm x 50mm x 4.8m Sawn Softwood Carcassing Treated Green | from £5.47 at Travis Perkins
- Ronseal Trade 10 Year Woodstain Satin Natural Oak 750ML | from £17.99 at Screwfix
- Stainless woven 2.6 mesh: 8.0mm aperture | from £36.00 per m² at Robinsonwirecloth
- M12 x 40mm BZP Hex Head Coach Screws (Pack of 10) | from £4.57 at Charles Watson
- Minotaur Measuring Tape 5m | from £3.98 at Toolstation
- Draper VENOM® First Fix Double Ground Tool Box Saw – 350mm | from £6.30 at Wickes
- Wickes General Purpose Sandpaper Assorted – Pack of 10 | from £5.50 per pack at Wickes
- RS PRO Pliers 140 mm Overall Length | from £27.00 at RS UK
- Durable 6pc Screwdriver Set – Chrome Vanadium Steel with Magnetic Tips | from £10.95 at Amazon
You Will Need
- Treated timber (8m of 25mm x 50mm)
- Wood stain
- Wire mesh sheet, with 1cm holes
- Wood screws (12mm x 40mm)
- Tape measure
Measure your wheelbarrow, so you can build your sieve to fit comfortably across the top.
Cut the timber into eight pieces and fix them together to form two equal-sized rectangles. Smooth any sharp edges with sandpaper. Use pliers to cut the wire mesh to the same size as the frame.
Paint the timber with wood stain to preserve it and add colour, then leave it to dry.
Set out the lower half of the timber frame on a flat surface and place the mesh on top.
Screw the upper and lower parts of the frame together, sandwiching the mesh in-between.
Best Garden Sieves
From budget steel riddles to premium rotary models, here’s our pick of some of the best garden sieves on offer.
Bulldog Premier Garden Sieve
Made by Wigan-based company Bulldog, this garden sieve has a diameter of 37cm and a mesh size of 9mm. It’s constructed entirely from metal and has a pressed steel rim.
Spear and Jackson Steel Frame Riddle
This garden sieve from Spear and Jackson is crafted from chrome-plated steel. The base plate has 1cm square holes and a diameter of 33cm.
Clarke Rotary Soil Sieve
The spring-loaded handle of this rotary garden sieve applies pressure to the compost or soil, forcing it through the mesh to filter out any debris. It’s made from steel and a large 40cm diameter.
Wilko Metal Riddle
Wilko’s metal garden sieve is one of the cheaper options on this guide. Made from metal, it has a powder coating to prevent rust a diameter of 36.5cm.
Crocus 2-in-1 Garden Sieve
Made in the UK, this garden sieve comes supplied with two interchangeable screens (6mm and 12mm mesh). Each screen is made from galvanised woven wire.
Galvanised Soil Sieve
This galvanised steel garden sieve from Crocus has a 30cm diameter and is finished with a clear lacquer. It has two handles on either side to help with grip.
Your sieve can also double as a drying tray in autumn and winter for onions, garlic, root crops and beans before you store them.