Composts, animal manure, green manure, cover crops, no dig gardening… there is a plethora of options when it comes to raising, naturally, the fertility of our soils.
The year we established our veggie patch we did no-dig gardening, the second year we did trench and leap-frog composting, last year we did crop rotation…
This year we’re opting for double digging.
Our soils have suffered a fair bit with the massive downpours we received this Summer plus the soaring heat waves, so it is necessary to replenish the ground with nutritional goodness.
This technique is used a lot in bio-intensive market gardening.
- Dig a trench (one-spade wide by one-spade deep –or, if you can, two-spade deep) and place the soil into a bucket.
- Move the bucket to the other side of the garden bed.
- (Optional) fill the trench with leaves (arrowroot, canna lily, comfrey). Water well.
- Dig a trench next to that first one and tip the soil into the first trench.
- Then dig another trench, add some leaves, water well and tip the soil into the previous one.
- Keep going until you get to the end of the row and tip the soil from the buckets into that last trench.
- Sprinkle a handful of blood and bone, wood ash, and dolomite lime onto the surface of the soil. Water well and mulch with 10cm-thick straw.
- Wait for a week or two before planting.
- Plant densely
Photo credit: Hannah Heyn – a gorgeous soul, keen gardener, baker extraordinaire and dear friend…
See you at one of our courses to learn much more about permaculture gardening