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Please settle an augument between me and my better half - I always dig over and  inbetween plants as the ground becomes veru waterlogged over winter, and also very compacted.  It is clay soil although I have been adding compost gradually over the years. He says it is not necessary.


I'd put the compost on top and let the worms do the job, they won't stick a fork though important roots.

Plants do fine without digging.

you're both right .

I have heavy clay soil and usually end up digging over some parts where it's very compacted by the rain - usually in February if we get a few dry days - because the frost breaks it down better if it's a bit clumpy than when it's packed down tight. In these parts of my garden there aren't generally any delicate little plants only big shrubs that I can easily avoid. The soil is too heavy for much to grow in it at the moment.

At this time of year though, I do as Nut says and add a thick layer of compost rather than digging - the worms do the work with no risk of damaging little shoots just emerging. I am not the most diligent gardener or organised shopper and I have often bought plants on a whim then forgotten they are there until they turn up again in spring. I am frequently overheard to remark while weeding and mulching in my borders "Oh hello. Who are you?". It confuses the dog a bit but OH has got used to it now 

So that's a good way to resolve the argument - you both win 

Last edited: 26 March 2017 15:16:30

The trouble with digging clay is that the loose soil after digging is very easily compacted by walking on it. So you might need to dig once if it's very compacted already, but then you want to add as much compost as possible and keep it covered with some kind of organic mulch, especially between established plants.

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