Double Digging

Double Digging

Want a super productive garden this year?

The super simple method of double digging can help you turn a productive garden into a super productive garden.  If you have an area of soil that you want to turn into a garden bed with deep, loose soil, then you’ll need to put in some elbow grease and double dig the bed.

Here are step-by-step instructions for creating a great new garden bed.

What is double digging?

Digging down, effectively loosening the soil more than 12 inches down to create optimal conditions for the plants’ roots to thrive.

Simple, begin at one end of the bed and dig a 1-foot-wide by 1-foot-deep trench across the bed’s width, placing the excavated dirt in a wheelbarrow. Next, work a garden fork into the floor of the trench and slowly rock it back and forth to loosen the soil. Continue until the soil in the excavated area is loosened. Dig a second, similar-size trench next to the first, this time placing the excavated soil in the first trench. Repeat this process until the entire area is finished.

Double Digging, Soil, Backyard Eden, www.backyard-eden.com
Using a garden fork will make the job easier and helps to protect the earthworms.

Soil Amendments

The greatest thing you can add to your garden bed while double digging is, compost.  Compost is the black gold of farming.  It provides all of the things the vegetables will need.  I usually add about a wheelbarrow of compost into each raised beds before the growing season begins.

Also read: How to compost using free local resources

The benefit

Double-digging improves the aeration of the soil, facilitates root penetration, and is especially recommended for crops that root deeply. It’s beneficial for new garden beds with long-term plantings such as vegetables and perennials.  If the soil needs amending, these plants will benefit from double-digging before planting.

Double-digging also improves soil drainage by breaking up compaction in soil that has been subjected to repeated rototilling.

Root crops such as carrots, potatoes and beets benefit from deep, loose soil in order to grow well. Double-digging is the first step in creating the most productive garden bed possible. I know from experience. I have a total of nine raised beds. When I put them in I purposely test this method by only double digging two of the nine beds. Those two raised beds have out produced the other beds by a mile.

This is a labor-intensive approach. But if the soil where you want your garden is very dense or hard-packed, making the effort to do this will pay you back handsomely as your garden grows.

Also, check out our article on Starting Seeds Indoors or Best Herbs to Grow!
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