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The Bio-Intensive Dig Method was developed by the renowned agriculturalist, John Jeavons. It is being used successfully on thousands of farms and gardens around the world.
This method is highly effective for both sandy and clay-rich soils. Here is how it works:
- Stake out the corners of your garden bed. Don’t worry about clearing away any grass or weeds on the surface; it will all be integrated into the soil.
- Cover the staked-out bed, grass and all, with an inch-thick layer of organic compost. Sprinkle several handfuls of crushed oyster shells and homemade wood ash onto the bed at the rate of one pound each per 100 square feet.
- Next, starting at one end, dig a trench 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep across the width of the bed. Place the soil from this first trench into a bucket and set it to the side.
- Then, dig a second trench parallel to the first, and fill the first trench with that soil. Incorporate any grass or weeds into the trench and break up any big clods. Then, dig a third trench, use that soil to fill the second, and continue this digging, each new trench across the bed filling the last, all the way down to the end of the bed. Use the soil in your bucket to fill in the final trench.
This technique evenly distributes the organic material throughout the soil. Plant roots can easily penetrate this loose, fluffy, well-aerated soil.
Finally, as a last step, cover the bed with another inch-thick layer of compost and add more crushed oyster shells and wood ash to the surface. Your healthy garden bed is now ready to plant!