Double Digging Soil for Growing Vegetables

This is a process of preparing your vegetable plot prior to sowing seeds and transplanting seedlings

Plot preparation is best done the season before sowing seeds. Autumn is a great time to prepare your plot for the following spring. This allows the soil time to settle and for all the worm, insects and bacteria to work their way back into the soil. Also the winter frosts help to break down soil clumps into fine crumbs- perfect for sowing the seed into.

Ground preparation should only be done in dry conditions, especially if you have a clay soil type.


  • Double digging involves digging trenches across the plot and forking the bottom of the trench while adding farm yard manure. The process is as follows.
  • Start at one end of the plot
  • Dig a trench to depth of one spade (1 foot)
  • Place the soil in front of the trench
  • Use a garden fork to turn the bottom layer
  • This part is why its called double digging
    • The 1st was the spade (1 foot deep)
    • The 2nd is the fork (an additional ½ foot deep)
  • Next fork in some farm yard manure
  • Add approx 4 inches along the base of the trench
  • Now continue process by starting a second trench
  • Place the soil from the second trench into the first trench
  • Continue until you reach the end of the plot

This process will improve drainage, giving to a deep, well drained soil. As you dig you must remove all weed roots and small stones. Adding the farm yard manure will improve both soil fertility and soil structure.
Once finished allow the soil to settle and then when the sowing season begins you just need to rake the soil level, prepare your drills and sow your seeds.

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