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Garden with Insight v1.0 Help: Tool action functions: double-dig soil

Double-digging is a method many garden books recommend for preparing a new soil bed for the first time, or for regenerating a compacted soil bed. Double-digging takes a lot of work but has excellent results. Recommended methods vary, but basically the idea is this. You start by removing a row of soil (to a shovel's depth) and placing the removed soil in a pile. Then you use mix some organic matter into the soil below what you just removed. Next you move over one row and remove another shovel's depth of soil. This soil you mix with some organic matter, then place it in the hole in the first row where you originally removed some soil. Below your second row you mix in some organic matter, then you place above it soil you dug out of the next row. You go on like this until you reach the end of your soil bed, at which time you place the original pile of soil in the last hole. The picture below shows how it works.


We added the double-digging method to the simulation. It is the same as mixing the soil, but the area used is the entire area of the soil patch (so it is completely mixed) and the depth is constant at 0.6 meters or two feet (which is about how deep you normally double-dig). From the description of double-digging above you can see that this simulation is not really accurate in terms of moving soil from one row to the next, but it does have some of the qualities of deep digging. You can simulate the effect of adding organic matter during double-digging by applying a soil amendment like compost before double-digging.

calculation of mixing the soil, applying a soil amendment
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Updated: March 10, 1999. Questions/comments on site to
Copyright © 1998, 1999 Paul D. Fernhout & Cynthia F. Kurtz.