QUESTION: What is double digging in a garden? I saw it in a vegetable gardening book and I don’t even know what it means.
ANSWER: Double digging is a great way to get better soil, faster. The idea is to remove the topsoil of your garden bed.
Once the topsoil is removed, add compost or other organic matter in the exposed layer. This will amend the dirt in your garden plot. When the soil has been amended, reapply the topsoil.
Benefits of Double Digging Your Garden
Double digging is a process that will only need to be done once but has many benefits. The biggest benefit is you’re improving the quality of your soil from the start.
It also aerates your soil which makes it easier for plant roots to dig deeper. This can equate to healthier plants.
Plants with deeper roots also can dig deeper for water, so you shouldn’t need to water as frequently.
Better quality, aerated soil can also make for better draining soil as it allows water to drain away from your plants. If you don’t aerate the soil, it will be left in a hard state that allows water to pool which could cause your plants’ roots to rot.
These are a few reasons you might wish to consider using this gardening technique.
How to Double Dig Your Garden
Double digging a garden is a simple process that should be done in the winter or fall. This is an ideal time as the ground should be easier to dig because it’s typically damp.
Begin by deciding how wide you’d like your garden plot to be. Dig a trench the width of the plot that’s approximately one foot deep.
The trench should only be a small portion of the entire garden plot. Don’t try to double dig the entire garden at once.
Once you’ve dug a small portion of the garden, add your organic material to the trench. During the digging process, remove any rocks or large roots.
After the soil has been amended, cover the area with topsoil again. Repeat this process until your entire garden plot has been amended using this method.
By digging small trenches, a little at a time, it reduces the risk of you stepping where your soil has been amended. You should avoid this as it will compact the soil again.
Double digging is hard physical labor. However, by making this investment in your garden, you could reap the benefits for years to come.