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To dig or not to dig?


By Judithj

Scottish Borders, United Kingdom Gb

Having recently read an article on the merits of not digging, I am inclined to award it a star of honour! However, it just doesn't seem right just to pile on compost, leaf mould etc. on top of raised beds and theoretically leave the rest to the worms and Mother Nature. What do other members think?



While my vegetable beds are not officially raised beds, they are slightly proud of the service paths between them. When they were first made, I double dug them but now I just sprinkle a general fertiliser and any left-over garden compost on the surface and lightly fork it in in early spring before covering with cloches to warm the soil

5 Nov, 2007


personally i generally don't do to much digging in any of my beds raised or otherwise. i always dig down about 2ft when preparing a new one and then i will do it again if i am having a change around. but other than that i ruff up the serface of the soil with a hand folk and lay compostable bark - or my own compost if i have some about 2-3 inches thick accross the top. - i do this two or three time a year, and have done so for many years and i find my plants do really well, and on the rare occations that i do dig right down the soil seems to be great, and the worms are plentyful, so it obviously does work. i have always done it this way because i love to plant lots of bulbs and perennials and i find digging over all the time often distroys the ones i have forgotten about. and i end up buying more. - also less hard work lol! - more time for the nice things!

6 Nov, 2007


Hey, it works in nature. Why can't it work in your garden?

The roots and worms do need reasonably open and moist soil to work with, so if you have compacted or dry soil, dig it up to start with. But once it's up and running, I see no reason to dig any more.

6 Nov, 2007


Many thanks for all replies - it is fairly solid clay, so will double dig to start with and then if I am still in one piece after that, shall leave well alone apart from adding compost on top each year. Thanks again.

6 Nov, 2007


If you can reach into the beds to weed the centre that's fine, treading heavily compacts the soil, use a board to spread weight if you have to
walk on it. Clay can be heavy, add plenty of organic matter eg compost,
manure, and leaf mould etc then the worms will work it for you.

6 Nov, 2007


my soil is also heavy clay - but i find it does really work.

6 Nov, 2007


Don't DIG your garden. Doing so will 1) cause a rash of weeds, and 2) loosen the soil to a consistency which roots won't like.
Soil should be naturally compact. Compost, mulch, fertilizer, etc., left on top of the soil will be dealt with by Nature. Save yourself the work!

7 Nov, 2007

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