Double Digging

What is double digging?

Double Digging is a way of cultivating soil where deep top soil is required.

Why double dig?

Double digging is used in the following situations:

  • in a new garden;
  • where the soil is compact;
  • where ground has not been cultivated;
  • where demanding long term plants are planned; or
  • when making raised beds

When to double dig.

The ideal time to double dig is in the autumn or winter because the ground is moist but not frozen.  If completed in autumn, the ground will have time to settle and for clods to be broken up by frost.  However, where good soil exists, double digging can take place at any time of the year.

How to double dig.

  1. Mark out the area to dig.
  2. Once marked out, measure around 60cm back along the line.  Dig out a trench and put the soil to one side.
  3. Dig the trench to the depth of the spade.
  4. Fork over the bottom of the trench.
  5. Add organic matter to the trench and lightly fork over.
  6. Measure another 60cm back along the line, dig out a trench and add the soil to the previous trench.
  7. Repeat until the line has been completed.
  8. On the final trench, collect the soil removed from the first trench and fill in the final trench.

Note: Try to keep the area level through the process or you will get more soil at one end of the area you have just dug over.

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