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Different Types of Digging Techniques and Their Benefits

As construction and excavation projects become increasingly more complex, it's more vital than ever to understand the various techniques and nuances they offer.

Knowledge is power, whether you are a do-it-yourself garden, re-turfing enthusiast, or a commercial contractor planning a major overhaul. This article will dig deep into why strategy counts when you get down and dirty with your shovel.

Whether you want to tap into some untapped gardening magic at home or to build the foundation for a new home, your tactics play a significant role in how successful you will be.


Understand the Different Types Of Digging

Different Types of Digging

Those unfamiliar with the heady world of soil excavation may be unaware of the different methods available. Each choice has advantages and disadvantages, but each will depend on the job.

For instance, the double digging technique is better suited to ensuring your vegetable patch yields better results, while mechanical extraction is more geared toward more extensive projects.

So let's take a look at a few options before discussing why it is so vital to select the correct technique for the job at hand.

Single Digging

This is perhaps the most basic digging option and the one that is most familiar to DIY enthusiasts and the occasional gardener.

It's a perfectly adequate technique but lacks many advantages of the following method, but it is still a viable option for anyone needing to make a hole fast and without a great deal of complexity. 

Single digging typically refers to the act of digging down to the depth of one shovel head across the site. Unlike the next option, the soil layers are inverted rather than completely displaced.

Single digging aerates the soil and enables the gardener to mix in soil amendments like compost to enrich it. Its primary advantage over other digging approaches is the speed at which you can finish a dig and carry on with whatever else needs to be done (planting, re-turfing, etc.).

Double Digging

The double digging approach is a far better option since it enables you to dig deeper to expose the more inflexible earth beneath the topsoil and fill it with higher-quality matter, thus transforming it into a nutrient-rich haven for your plants.

While this might sound like more work due to its labor-intensive nature, the results are worth the effort, as your plants will have an optimal start by thoroughly improving the soil environment.

Because you are essentially digging deeper and adding better quality organic material to the deepest parts of the soil, such as compost or manure, you are dramatically increasing the chances of growing strong and healthy plants, whether they be for food or decoration.

A man using double digging

Mechanical Excavation

The average person will rarely experience a mechanical dig due to the costs and expertise required. Nonetheless, for the purposes of this post, it's worth taking a look.

Mechanical excavation refers to the use of machines and powered equipment to dig, move, and transport earth, rock, and other materials from one place to another.

This approach is an essential part of large-scale construction and civil engineering projects but is rarely used in DIY projects. That isn't to say that you will never need machinery to dig up your garden, but it's far less common than the humble shovel.

Why Your Digging Technique Matters

Even though you have read about a few of the different digging techniques available to the typical gardener or amateur civil engineer, you probably still have questions about the benefits of employing the proper method.

When you opt for the correct type of dig, you can reap a tremendous number of benefits that enable you to grow truly spectacular flora. Since the majority of you will not need an excavator, the advantages will mainly concentrate on how using the proper methods can improve your garden.

Benefits of Using the Right Digging Technique

Maximizes Soil Aeration and Drainage

If you want to ensure optimal aeration and drainage of your garden soil, the key is mastering the art of digging, specifically the double dig.

When you dig deep into the hard-packed earth and break apart any large chunks, you will create space for air, water, and nutrients to work their way around the root formations of your plants.

Moreover, when you add additional nutrient-rich matter to the hole, you will fortify your plants and allow them to grow bigger and stronger than if you only opted for a single dig. 

Promotes Root Growth and Development

To follow on from the previous point, the way you dig can have a substantial effect on the root development of your plants. By loosening the soil to a certain degree, you are enabling it to become "fluffier," thereby allowing the roots to take hold and spread more readily through the earth.

Furthermore, when you choose to put in the extra work with the double dig method, you will find that water is better able to permeate the soil and work its way down to the deepest roots where it may previously have been inaccessible. More water means a healthier plant.

Prevents Soil Compaction

Soil compaction is a plant's worst nightmare, and here's why. It creates this super dense layer that roots can't break through or expand in. These stunted root systems are left starving for water and nutrients they desperately need to survive.

Furthermore, compacted soils lack proper aeration because of missing air pockets. Roots need oxygen to breathe; without it, they're basically suffocating beneath the surface.

By ensuring that you have dug correctly, you can guarantee that your plants are able to breathe and have room to grow.

Increases Garden Productivity and Yield

The proper digging technique can substantially boost garden productivity and yield through several mechanisms. Most fundamentally, it creates the ideal soil environment for plants to thrive.

Additionally, well-aerated, loose soil enables earlier spring planting. The soil warms faster without dense, compressed areas. This longer growing season increases total yield. 

Wrapping Up Our Guide to Different Types of Digging

Digging isn't something that most folks give any credit to. Still, if you are interested in increasing your output and creating a garden fit for the Chelsea Flower Show, it's vital to get interested pretty quickly.

When you double dig and place nutrients deeper down, it will not only assist in giving your plants the best possible start, but it will also significantly increase yield.

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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