Double Digging

This weekend we finally got the house all cleaned up. Once we started pressure washing it, we realized that the tornado did more damage than we originally thought. There are a lot of cracks and tiny holes all over. There was debris blown under the vinyl and there was even some hanging loosely, just blowing in the wind. Now it is all better. We sprayed and clean all the vinyl, took off the faded shutters and gave them a fresh coat of paint, reattached the loose vinyl, and sealed all the holes and cracks. The house looks brand new!

Yesterday I managed to double dig about 20 feet of bed. To double dig a planting bed first mark the area to be dug with plastic stakes and twine and then prep the bed by loosening the soil with a garden fork to remove all weeds, grass, rocks, sticks, roots, etc. Next, standing on a digging board, dig a trench about a shovel’s width wide across one end of the bed, piling the soil into a wheel barrow as you go. When the trench is dug use a garden fork to loosen the soil along the bottom as deeply as the fork will comfortably go. When done with the first trench slide the digging board back and dig another but this time, instead of dumping the soil into a wheelbarrow, turn the soil into the previously dug trench. After digging three of four trenches, level the bed with a bow rake. Continue down the bed until it is all dug. Dump the soil from the first trench into the last trench. The biointensive technique suggests digging the bed to a depth of 24″ but we are only able to dig 12″-18″ because of our soil type (rock hard red clay). We think that it will be necessary to double dig our planting beds during the second season well. After this, we plan to use a broad fork to loosen the already dug bed. 

It all may sound confusing but it is really pretty simple. There are many good videos on YouTube that explain the double digging process really well. We’ve not had time to post any but the Ecology Action’s website  has some pretty good self-teaching tutorials.