Tuesday, 7 June 2011
Digging to establish deep beds
Digging soil enables soil to be raked into a fine tilth for seed sowing or planting. It gets air into the soil, exposes weed seeds and allow you to break up any compacted soil. It is also an opportunity to add any organic matter available and remove are large stones or weeds.
The process of establishing deep beds involves heavy digging to start with but once built light forking is generally all that is needed. Beds may, however, benefit from deep digging every four years.
Start by marking out beds to the size required and double dig the area. Double digging is essentially digging to a depth of about 40cm and is made easier if you place the soil at the start into a wheelbarrow and return it at the end which allows space to turn the soil as you progress along your bed. Fork the bottom of each dug area and add any organic matter available before proceeding to the next trench.
Although hard work your plants will benefit from the deeper soil which will allow roots to penetrate deeper and find water at lower levels which is important in the Mediterranean climate.