Double digging: tips

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Maija Wallace - Sikana
Maija Wallace
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In this lesson, we will give you some useful tips for double digging.

Double digging can be tedious, but you must pay close attention to your body movements.

Mastering the proper techniques will simplify your work significantly.

Start by planning your tasks.

It’s best to double dig your growing beds in the spring or fall

Double digging should be done in the morning or late afternoon when the outside temperature is cool.

Check the moisture level of the soil. If it’s too dry, double digging will destroy its structure.

On the other hand, if the soil is too wet, it will be heavier and harder to work with.

A well-maintained tool set will make your work easier.

Stay organized by first gathering all of your necessary tools.

Now, we will show you how to properly use the border spade, the digging fork and the rake.

Border spade

Digging fork

Rake

Use the border spade to transfer soil from one trench to another.

Keep your back straight.

Place the handle against your leg.

The heel of your shoe should be positioned against the spade’s head.

Without using excessive force, shift your body weight onto the spade while keeping your leg straight.

Turn 90 degrees, keeping your eyes fixed on the horizon and transfer your body weight downward.

Your hand should be positioned with your palm facing toward you.

Raise up while keeping your back straight.

Bend sideways slightly and drop the arm holding the handle.

Let’s watch the movement again.

Now we’ll look at some incorrect ways of using the border spade. Here, you’ll notice that he’s using an excessive amount of energy to yield the same result.

Next, you’ll need to scrape the bottom of the trench. Here, we’re using a pendular motion.

Swing the spade from left to right. Then right to left. Keep your legs relaxed and your back straight.

Use the digging fork to loosen the soil to a depth of 60 centimeters.

Stand on the wooden board and place your shoe heel against the digging fork’s head.

Shift your body weight onto the digging fork.

Stand up straight and relax your shoulders.

Be careful not to use excessive force, especially with your arms.

If rocks obstruct your path, move the fork back and forth while keeping your weight on it.

Shift your body weight backward to loosen the soil. Lower your legs while keeping your back straight.

You don’t need to lift the fork between each turn, simply drag it over top of the soil.

After every trench, reverse your working leg.

If you’ve been using your left foot to plant the fork for the first trench, switch to your right foot for the next one.

This will prevent muscle pain and injuries.

Note that the goal here is not to turn the soil.

This step aims to loosen and open the soil to improve root growth and drainage.

Be sure to rake the bed every 5 trenches. This will prevent the need to move large quantities of soil across the bed at the end of the process.

When using the rake, stand up straight and avoid any unnecessary physical effort.

Any physical task is made easier with tools suited to your height.

Walk backward to diminish the physical stress on the arms.

Here, it’s better to move small quantities of soil.

Don’t try to plant the rake deep in the soil; simply lift it up and let it fall, like this.

These are just a few simple tips to make double digging a little easier.

At first they may feel strange, but once mastered, these steps will ease your work - especially when double digging in large areas.

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