Digging Garden: How To Properly Care For Garden Beds?

Garten umgraben: Wie pflegt man Beete richtig?

Why dig up the soil?


Digging up the garden and its maintenance are exhausting and time-consuming, but it is worth it, because there are many good reasons to regularly dig up the soil. The soil looks neat after the work is done, the soil loosens up and you can easily remove accumulated weeds. Water penetrates deep into the soil, so that the plants are also supplied with sufficient moisture and nutrients in the coming year and can take root more easily due to the loose soil. Without digging up the garden, many plants have a hard time penetrating through firm and compact soil with their roots. In addition, thanks to digging over, the soil aerates and the plants can grow more easily due to the better oxygen supply.


Those who want to additionally dig up their soil with manure or compost and thus fertilize it also benefit from digging up the garden. The fertilizer is thereby worked into the soil and reaches the roots of the plants particularly effectively. In addition, tilling the soil creates cavities in the earth, through which the water is retained better.

But be careful: Never undermine fresh manure! This can lead to mold and rot and attacks the plants. Better to work it in superficially. Even if the compost is not mature, avoid working it in too deeply. This is not a problem with mature compost.

When should you dig up the garden?


There is disagreement among amateur gardeners about when is the best time to dig up the garden. Some believe that spring is the right time, while others think that autumn is ideal to devote to this part of gardening. Both sides have good arguments, which I will explain below.

Digging up in spring


To make the bed fit for summer, many amateur gardeners dig up their beds after the big frost in the spring. The aim is to protect the living organisms in the soil from the frost. Countless tiny creatures live in the soil, and intensive tilling in the fall leaves them defenseless against the threat of frost in the winter.

Not digging in the fall should prevent the nutrients in the soil from leaching out in the winter. If you want to fertilize the soil with manure or compost, dig up your garden for this purpose in the spring as well. The fertilizer strengthens the newly planted plants, but can also provide important nutrients to weeds that have not been completely removed.

Digging up the soil in spring


To make the bed fit for the summer, many amateur gardeners dig up their beds after the big frost in the spring. The aim is to protect the living organisms in the soil from the frost. Countless small creatures live in the soil, and intensive tillage in the fall leaves them defenseless against the threat of frost in the winter. Not digging in the fall should prevent the nutrients in the soil from leaching out in the winter. If you want to fertilize the soil with manure or compost, dig up your garden for this purpose in the spring as well. The fertilizer strengthens the newly planted plants, but can also provide important nutrients to weeds that have not been completely removed.

Digging the garden in autumn


As summer and the gardening season draw to a close, many amateur gardeners begin digging up their beds. Fruit and vegetables from the garden are then harvested and many flowers have faded. Since the ground does not yet freeze in the fall, it can be worked relatively easily. In winter, the part of the soil that has been dug up then freezes and bursts open, so to speak . This loosens the structure of the soil and increases the proportion of air pores in the soil. This process is also known as frost proofing. A fine-grained, loose soil is better suited for spring tillage, as it is easier to prepare for the summer. In the spring, loosen the soil only slightly before you start planting seeds or the plants.

The ideal time to start digging in the fall is when the soil is not too dry after the first fall showers, but not too wet yet either. New beds should also be established in the fall, between mid-September and late October. At this time, the days are not yet too cold, and at night there is usually no frost. The soil structure of the soil also in this case loosens up. Frost that sets in during the winter inhibits the formation of weeds. However, still make sure to carefully remove all weeds when digging. Otherwise, in spring and summer will sprout not only beautiful flowers and fresh vegetables, but also disturbing wild plants that take away space and important nutrients from the other plants.

How should you dig up the soil in the garden?


Basically, there are two ways to dig up the soil. A distinction is made between single and double digging. You need spades & shovels or a spade fork.

Single digging of your garden


In simple digging, you first dig a long trench across the entire side of the bed. To do this, place the spade or spading fork at a slight angle and stab into the soil until the blade or tines are fully penetrated. The soil thus tapped is then placed in a wheelbarrow or similar and taken to the opposite side of the bed. Now a second trench is dug in furrows next to the first. The earth turned upside down by 180° is given into the first trench. Continue in this way until the end of the bed. You can then fill the last trench with the soil that you have already prepared from the first trench. This way, no soil is left over and the soil is completely turned over.

Rigolen – double digging the garden keeps better?


Double digging is also called rigole. By this we mean that the soil is dug over two spade blades deep. Apart from that, this kind of soil cultivation is carried out in the same way as single digging. By the Rigolen particularly heavy soils are made more permeable. Double digging is also advantageous for newly created beds. The turf should be shredded in the process and get into the subsoil. In this way, it can decompose well there and no grass will peek out of the soil of the bed in the end. Deep digging also has the positive effect that weed seeds present in the upper layer of soil can reach the lower part and thus grow less strongly and quickly, so that less weeds need to be plucked in the next planting and flowering season.

Digging Garden: How To Properly Care For Garden Beds?

You’ll find a great selection of gardening helpers in our garden tools store. Especially helpful: The Fiskars QuikFit plug-in system.

Nutrients for the garden – digging with compost


After or during garden digging, enrich the beds with compost or other fertilizer so that the plants will grow in the best possible way later. To do this, sift the compost to remove components that may otherwise begin to rot under the soil. If you want to enrich the soil with inorganic fertilizer, make sure to buy a fertilizer that is tailored to the needs of the plants you want to plant. This way, the plants will get exactly the nutrients they need to grow vigorously.

Loosening instead of digging


If you have dug up your bed in spring or fall, it is sufficient to loosen up the bed at the other time of the year. Use a cultivator or a digging fork to carefully poke into the soil and gently lift the soil in a circular motion. This allows oxygen into the soil and loosens the soil, giving the plants enough room to spread their roots. Additional compost can also be mixed in while loosening to provide additional nutrients for the plants.

Plant garden instead of digging up garden


Instead of digging up the garden, a new area can be created with plant soil or topsoil, depending on what is planned. If there is already a garden area with soil, it must first be removed. For a holistic new planting, it is recommended to order a larger amount of plant soil on a pallet. Subsequently, flowers, plants as well as lawn can be laid out on a large scale.

Spade, spading fork and Co. – The right tools for digging up the garden


So that at the end of the day the arms are not too heavy and the Umgraben of the soil goes well from the hand, hobby gardeners should fall back on the correct tool for soil cultivation. Which variants there are and for what purpose which garden tools are best suited for digging, I will show you in the following.

Digging Garden: How To Properly Care For Garden Beds?

Spading fork for loosening and turning soil.


A spading fork is roughly the shape of an oversized cake fork. With their four tines, they are perfect for digging around hard or stony soil. They are easier to stick into the ground than spades and their tines keep them from being blocked by rocks, weeds or roots. Another advantage is the protection of small animals such as earthworms, which are less likely to be cut up by using a spading fork. Here, too, it is important to pay attention to the appropriate length and the lowest possible weight with high stability.

Spaten für das Umgraben im Garten

Conclusion about digging up the garden


Whether in the fall or spring, digging up the garden brings many benefits. The soil is aerated, weeds are effectively removed, and the soil is optimally prepared for further stocking with flowering and useful plants. With the right tools, garden digging and bed maintenance become a breeze. Even if the first digging takes a little longer, practice makes perfect! You can find more tips and hints in the gardening forum. Have you ever dug up your garden or created a bed yourself? Feel free to share your experiences with me in the comments.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *