Single Digging  

 

Single digging helps to relive compaction and improves drainage. It also gives air   more access to spaces in the soil and makes more plant nutrients become available. Single digging brings more soil into contact with frost. The natural process of organic matter break down is speeded up. It's also good for wildlife and brings any grubs, slugs and egg up to the surface.

 

How to Single Dig  

 

1. If you have a large area to dig divide it into to equal areas. Then you can dig to one end and work back down the other side to finish where you began.

  

 

2. Excavate the first trench to a full spade depth and 400mm wide and move this soil to adjacent to where the last trench will be.

 

 

 

3. Spread manure or compost evenly into the bottom of the trench.

 

 

 

4. Insert the spade to its full dept hand and keep as vertical as possible. Don't take to big a spit at one time as this can lead to an untidy trench. Take care to invert each spit into the trench as you go.

 

5. As you are digging remove any perennial weeds.

 

6. Continue digging the area and take care to bury all manure and compost as you go.

 

 

7. Once you have dug the last trench fill it in with the soil excavated from the first trench.

 

Most soils can be dug in this way. Heavy clay soils are best dug in autumn or early winter. The frosts of the winter will then break down the clods into a fine tilt ready for planting and sowing in spring. Never dig clay soil when it's really wet and sticky as your weight will compress the clay into hard lumps. Light sandy soils don't need winter weathering and can be dug at any time.