[permaculture] Double-dug?

Lawrence F. London, Jr. venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Sat Dec 12 23:48:25 EST 2009

Jeff wrote:
> Just curious, can someone give me an explanation or a how to on double 
> digging a plot for biointensive plantings?

The essence of it is that you invest a lot of effort and materials up 
front, inverting the soil, fragmenting the crumb structure, with 
associated temporary disruption of soil life and soil structure, 
oxidation of organic matter and release of co2 through exposure of humus 
to air. You remove much of the soil in the bed, add organic matter and 
mineral based soil amendments to it, homogenize these materials then 
return the amended, enriched soil mix to the bed. This is done in 
increments of one (typical short (42" to 48") English D-handled) digging 
spade blade width wide and one spade blade length deep for the width of 
the bed (38-50" wide depending on the gardener's height).

After this process is completed you need never again turn your soil,
except to a depth no greater than is necessary to control newly emerging 
weeds, break crust and create a fine, loose seedbed. You now have 
biointensive no-till, permanent raised beds.

This technology has been around for centuries and it works.
There is a very big net gain for soil, its inhabitants and the environment.

See John Jeavons books, Alan Chadwick's literature and lectures (links 
on my website) and Aquatias' "Intensive Culture of Vegetables, French 

Double  digging is as essential and indispensible to gardening anywhere 
in the world, where the climate does not mandate other methods, as grain 
is to bread.

I'll work up a complete description of the method with variations next.

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