Digging up the garden – how to do it properly?

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Growing a garden raises many questions. Many novice gardeners wonder how to dig up their garden properly and whether it is worth it at all – we suggest!

To dig or not to dig?

The opinions of gardeners are divided. Some of them believe that it is worth it because the soil is better aerated and its structure improves. 

On the other hand, proponents of the “no dig” method advise against digging, arguing that it improves the viability of microorganisms and does not interfere with soil structure. 

There are many supporters of each method, we do not want to judge which of them is better. The decision belongs to the owner of the garden or allotment. So if you feel like digging up your garden we will be happy to tell you how to do it properly.

When to dig up your garden?

Digging up your garden should be done in the autumn. You can start at the end of September but there is nothing to stop you from doing it in, for example, December or early January. 

How to dig up the garden?

If you dig up your garden in autumn it is advisable to combine it with fertilizing. In vegetable gardens it is recommended to spread granular manure (e.g. cattle manure), which will have time to decompose in autumn and winter and enrich the soil. You can also use compost. In the case of the latter it is important that it is mature (there should be no visible organic matter such as plant remains). Once you have spread the manure, you can start digging up the garden, i.e. you drive a spade into the ground, scoop up the soil, lift it and put it back in the same place, but upside down – the soil that was previously in the depths comes to the surface. Don’t break up clods of soil – frost and rainfall will do that. This will help the soil aerate and loosen up during the winter.

Do you have to pull weeds and the rest of the vegetables before digging?

We don’t have to do this. They will serve as organic matter, which will decompose during the winter and fertilize the soil. Grass and plants with seeds are an exception – it’s better to remove them as they can overwinter and in spring will be uninvited guests in your garden bed.

Is it worth limning the garden?

We strongly recommend liming your garden. Lime acidifies the soil, improves its water holding capacity and helps the absorption of fertilizer. Remember that lime is best spread on the beds 2-3 weeks after digging. You do not need to repeat the treatment every year, just once every 3-4 years.

What do I use to dig up my garden?

Gardeners usually choose a spade. To make the work more enjoyable, it’s good to choose a model suitable for your conditions. If you have clay soil in your garden, go for a pointed spade. If the top of the spade is also curved and forms a support, you have found the ideal tool for heavy terrain – this design allows you to press the tool down with your foot to dig deeper into the soil.

Some gardeners like to dig through the garden with a pitchfork. This tool does a great job of loosening soil and making it easier to get rid of unwanted weeds like couch grass and grass roots.

Remember to adjust the length of the handle to your height – you’ll ensure ergonomic working conditions and your back will thank you for it.

main photo: pixabay.com/Goumbik

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