(Can You) Dig It

Or Not?

I know when it comes to cultivating the soil, everyone has an opinion about it. There are a lot of good reasons not to. The soil has a structure and its own little ecosystem of worms, fungus and bugs. Also, digging is hard work! A good reason to dig is if you’re putting in a new bed and you need to amend the soil. I would say that once the plants are in you’re better off spreading compost and mulch on the surface and waiting for the earthworms to work it all in for you.

The one area of the garden that I’ve found needs regular cultivation is the vegetable garden.

Maybe it’s that so much is demanded of the vegetable garden. If plants are slowly creeping along, it doesn’t seem worth the space and time. The first beds I dug over 20 years ago were the start of what is, to this day, my vegetable garden. At first it was exciting to pick a couple of green beans and a few small leaves of lettuce, even though bugs and dirt on my food were a new experience for me. Yeah, at that point I was still mostly a city girl and secretly grateful that most of what I planted barely grew.

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9 thoughts on “(Can You) Dig It

  1. the things you talk about in this article remind me of ones i read about years ago in organic gardening. do you read this magazine? i found it to be ahead of its time by 15 to 20 years!!

    1. I think that was the one with the no-till article! Good magazine, although the technique didn’t work very well in a veggie patch. I wouldn’t recommend it.
      The double-dig is an old-time, honored way to prepare your planting beds. It’s work but, it works!

  2. I see straw put down in the pathways of a lot of gardens, and I’ve always wondered why that’s done. Is it to keep the weeds from growing in those areas or maybe to protect the soil? Obviously I don’t have much gardening experience, but I find it really interesting and appreciate the way you explain the how and why of keeping a garden!

    1. It’s used as a mulch with the veggies, so, it keeps down weeds (although it usually contains it’s own seeds), helps to regulate soil temperature, lessen water evaporation, and keeps the veggies clean! I guess it’s used over other mulch because it takes a while to break down and is easy to rake up and reuse as the veggie garden shifts around. It would be a messy mulch to use in the rest of the garden but, is a good fit when growing food.

  3. Beautiful pics of your boys as babes in the garden, Bridget .. and this info about cultivating the soil is just what I’m searching for.. as we prepare to head into our rainy season in a few months.. I’ve a fantasy to finally add some plants to the general shape of this yard. It’s been pretty barren in 2 1/2 years, but now seems like it all feels ready to proceed .

    thanks for the advice ! sheesh, this is great.. so often I’ve thought, I wish I had Bridget around to tap into her gardening and landscaping expertise. . and now I do, thanks to your blog ! (which I spent some time the other night catching up on posts.. hanging out with you!🌹)

    much love~ Dawn

    1. Thanks! I couldn’t believe I was able to find two pictures that went so perfectly with this post. I was up late digging through boxes and almost gave up.
      The double-dig method is great for putting in new beds (and adding amendments, any aged manure from some of those farm animals?)and all you need is a shovel and a straight back!

  4. Bridget….Once again you’ve done a great job explaining “to dig, or not to dig.” (Sounds like a line from “Hamlet”) I enjoy how detailed your explanations are — you could write a pamphlet for the DIY’ers. AND it would be a best seller!! Really proud of you!!

    Love, MOM

    Sent from Outlook ________________________________________

    1. You guess it!
      “To be or not to be…” It feels like one of those big questions that makes you think…or argue. It’s fun that on my blog I can mostly have the final say! Ha, ha, ha…..

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