How to double dig

Click to return to home page

Have you noticed poor growth in your garden? Do you walk constantly over the soil? Are you planning to turn an area of sod into a garden?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your garden soil may be compacted and need to be loosened. Your garden may benefit from a practice called double-digging. This task is not for the weak of back, however, and may require more than one person (or more than one day, depending on the size of your plot).

Here is how the process works:

- Start at one end of the area and dig a one-shovel-deep trench across the width of the plot. Place the soil in a wheelbarrow or off to one side of the garden.

- At the bottom of the trench, thoroughly loosen the soil with a shovel, pitchfork, or pick axe.

- Next, dig another trench beside the first. Place the soil from the second trench into the first.

- Loosen the soil in the bottom of the second trench in the same manner as done in the first.

- Continue this process until the entire garden area has been completed.

- Fill the final trench with the soil from the first.

Here are a few suggestions and tips for double digging your garden:

- Never work the soil when it is extremely wet. You will damage the actual structure of the soil particles. This will do more harm than not double digging.

- Compost can be added to the top layer of the garden during this process. Just remember to use well rotted (or finished) material.

- If you have an extremely large garden and have access to a tractor, a large plow can turn the soil over at a deep level. This can be a quick and easy way to accomplish the double dig process.

The best way to avoid needing to double dig your garden is to walk on the soil as little as possible. This may sound counter intuitive. However, if you or your family will walk mainly on designated walkways, your garden will not compact as much. Also, incorporating organic matter into the soil on a yearly basis and rotating crops properly will reduce the need to double dig your garden.

Thomas Smith is an avid gardener on a small ranch in Idaho. He holds a bachelors degree in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. Thomas is also the owner of Gardening Everyday - A resource for learning more about your garden. Visit his site today for interesting tips and ideas to help you become a better gardener.


Custom Search