Start winter digging

Get your ground in perfect condition for spring sowings.

Winter digging - main pic.jpg

To dig or not to dig, that is the question? Traditionally vegetable gardens and allotments are dug over in the winter to prepare the ground for the coming season. The alternative is the no-dig system where the ground isn’t cultivated at all and in spring a layer of organic matter is added to the surface into which you sow and plant new crops.  

For those that do dig, now’s the time to get started to make sure the ground is in good condition for spring. Digging over your plot has many advantages. Turning over the top spit (a spade’s depth) buries any annual weed growth, allows you to mix in organic matter and it breaks up any compacted soil. This allows air down into the soil and improves surface drainage. Gardeners of old would say that digging the soil means you start the new growing season with a clean plot. Digging is also good exercise as long as you do it steadily, and it’s a great way to burn off calories after Christmas! 

Heavy clay soils need digging over as soon as possible to give the winter rains and frosts a couple of months to break down the lumps of clay. Lighter sandy or loamy soils can be left until February as they break down much faster.