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Monday, October 21, 2013

Double Digging Raised Beds, Using Organic Amendments & Green Manure/Cover Crops: My Winterizing Process

Double Digging Raised Beds, Using Organic Amendments & Green Manure/Cover Crops: 
My Winterizing Process


Double digging your raised beds loosens the soil to a depth of about 24 inches. If you don't walk on your beds, you really only need to do this about every 3 years. 

Double digging lets root systems go deeper into the soil. This creates less competition for root space and therefore you can plant your vegetable plants more closely together. It allows your plants to manage moisture betters as well as lets water go deeper into your garden bed. And finally it helps the structure of your garden soil develop and become more alive. This means happier, healthier and bigger plants.

This process of double digging can be done anytime. This happens to be how I am winterizing my beds for the year. I added organic fertilizers with the belief they will help improve the 'life' of my soil. That is, good bacteria and fungi and other living organisms. I 100% agree that synthetic fertilizers can act like salt and pull moisture out of living bacteria. Over use of these types of fertilizer will harm the organisms in your soil. Think of salt on cucumber slices... water gets pulled out of them and the same thing happens to good bacteria.





I am using bone meal and blood meal which is a slow acting fertilizer. It will slowly break down and release over time. I am also using a product called Garden Tone. It is a 3-4-4 fertilizers that boost the addictions of living organisms that will increase the life and health of your soil, so it says.  I also planted a green manure or cover crop of red clover. The roots of this cover crop fix nitrogen and loosen up soil. The greenery will be dug into the garden come spring, to increase the soil's biomass.

You don't have to fertilizer your double dug beds in this manner. It is up to you. I used peat moss because I don't have compost or that would have also been added into the trenches. 


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