Digging question

I have had different e-mails asking questions about winter digging, I will try and answer them. I feel this maybe one of the most important jobs of the year, to have the soil right helps more than most other things. To have a good deep rich soil you need to add organic matter deep and this takes getting on the end of a spade and digging it in, you want to tun it over and leave the soil  in as big a clod as you can so that you have more surface space for the frost to get to, it also does not pan in the winter rains if left in large clods, the soil I dug today was very broken up already because we had the potatoes on it last summer and they get down deep and break up the soil, it will not over winter as well but it does not matter as long as you still get the organic matter in deep, the soil has been dug here for just over 100 years but we still bring clay to the top, it means that we are getting in nice and deep. The other great thing about winter digging is you work off the extra weight, my nurse will be happy. The photo is what you want the ground to look like at the end of the day.


9 thoughts on “Digging question

  1. Boy, I have been doing this all wrong. I have been deep digging and adding the compost in the spring. Then I get on my knees and break the large clods up with my hands into fine soil.

    I will do the digging now and leave them for Father Winter….Please explain what the frost does to the large clods. Do I break them up in spring?

    We need a session on this in May…

  2. Yes leave it for the winter and then I will tell you what to do in spring, the rain gets into the soil, turns to ice and breaks up the soil. If the soil is broken down now when the winter rains fall on it the soil will turn to concrete. Hope this is a help, it is a very big subject and such an important subject. You should do the same with any areas that you want to turn into new flower borders.

  3. Does it matter what kind of matter that you dig in? (pardon the pun) We mainly used compost from the heap but I hear very good things about using horse manure…. Is it worth be asking local stables about having some?

    I wish you good weather sir. 🙂

    • The weather is perfect for digging here.

      I think the important thing to remember is that the compost is well rotted, we use three year old compost. Horse shit is great but really has to be well rotted and not covered in weed seed, often the shit will be piled in an area out of site and weeds let grow all over it, then you bring these into the garden. If you have space, get enough in, cover it with plastic and use it the following year.

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