Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Double Digging With a Bout of Stomach Flu by Gardener Cumax

I got back into double digging. I needed two spots of yard dug out because I need sunny places. A huge silver maple blocks my garden for the first half of the day and where I dug is where the maple doesn't block it. I had a small area last year for squash. The dead grass was killed with leaves. I left those leaves on there from November to the first of May. I left it uncovered for 2 weeks to see if the grass would rejuvenate. It didn't, so on with the dig. I was dreading this dig for some reason but it went super smooth. It took me 30 minutes max to grid the grass cuts, dig them and make a small retaining wall with the grass chunks. I got this idea from visiting another gardener who tore out 1,000 sq ft of grass and made walls raised bed gardens from them. That seemed like an excellent idea to me. It takes less labor to move the grass chunks and since it's clay, it's pretty heavy and will eventually compact into its own little retaining wall. Then I got into the double-dig itself. I don't have pictures of this because if I stop, I'm going to take a rest and not really get back into the flow of it. It took an hour to dig it. Those white bags are top soil and composted manure from Ace Hardware. Since I've double dug this out, I need to amend the soil. This is a one time thing for both the digging and amendment. I did it last year to my main garden plot. One time amendment is only possible if you compost. Remember this: feed the soil if you want to feed your plants. Unless one has a compost in place throughout the year, your garden might not do so well in its second and subsequent years because most plants take nutrients out of the soil. These nutrients need to be replaced. You can learn more about gardening from the JeffCo Master Gardener's program. It's a great course with great people.