Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Double Digging Revisited

To dig or not to dig?  I've read too many blogs about this subject.
Some people say not to; it disrupts the soil structure and makes for less healthy plants.
Others argue that by digging heavily or tiling and adding compost/manure/peat/old leaves...whatever... they have better production.

I can see a lot of value from the amend from above approach.  Ever moved a compost pile or even a pile of leaves and seen the dirt below?  It's gorgeous!!

Having now spent a good month double digging AND SIFTING, I can tell you I really don't love it.  But the reason I don't love it is the reason I have to do it.

I don't have soil.  I have rocks.  And a little clay.

No compost heap can fix that.

I think clay can be amended from above, but have to be dug out, plain and simple.  But I'm tired and I still have 1 1/2 beds to do and I'm building another!
Am I just making more work for myself or is this a long term investment?  The clay is very rich and has a lot of nutrients so I like adding it back to the beds, but the sifting is so stinking tedious!

We're thinking or just removing a foot of our "soil" and putting it somewhere else in the yard then getting a truckload of compost from the city compost site and filling the beds with that.  Cost $35 vs. 3 full days work of digging and sifting.  Lazy? Probably.
Tumbleweed is so clingy now that I'm finding little time to work in the yard and I'm getting behind.  I think compost wins (now to get a truck....)

So I think the thing I have to remember when I find a new way of doing things, whether it's biointensive gardening, permaculture, or just standard row gardening is that I can't make it work perfectly in my yard.  There will always be rocks or bindweed or clay that is so solid even bindweed can't grow in it. There's no such thing as the perfect yard.

So for now I'm still digging.  I think I'll leave the sifting for the compost heap though.

1 comment:

  1. That's a good thought for all of life, though. You can't make every new idea work perfectly in your situation.

    It's all about adapting.