<< Back to main

The Intensive 1st Step

Posted 3/20/2010 9:24pm by Jacob and Katie .

We’ve mentioned a couple times now that we are using a more labor-intensive method of growing this season. We are grateful that we have a solid group of individuals helping us with this experiment via the work share program and volunteering.

 As soon as the weather warmed enough to thaw out the soil inside high-tunnel 1, we began preparing the first bed for planting using the double-digging method.  The name pretty much describes the process: soil is dug double deep.  Labor-intensive: yes. Gratifying and delightful at times: yes. Something you ever want to do to an acre of soil in one season: NO!

Here’s the overview:

Step 1)  Dig trench full width of bed. Shovel depth deep. Set soil aside.

Step 2)  Prepare self for intensive and exhausting 4-6 hours of digging (for each 100 sq feet)

Step 3) Shovel in 2 in of compost into trench.

Step 4) Force spade or garden fork to full tine-depth and rock back and forth to loosen sub-soil, aerate and incorporate compost.

Step 5) Dig trench adjacent to 1st trench, this time, place each shovel of soil in open space from 1st trench on top of loosened, composted sub-soil. Keep soil layers intact during this process, like slices on a pie.

Step 6) Repeat steps 3-5 until bed space is completed.

Step 7) Place the soil that was set aside from the 1st trench into the final trench space.

Step 8) Rake bed smooth for easy transplanting or direct-seeding.

Step 9) Feel accomplished and prepare for another day. 

Step 10) Sleep deep.