How to dig beds in winter

Do it:

Dec, Jan, Feb

Takes just:

an afternoon

Digging your soil, and incorporating organic matter, greatly improves its quality. It enhances both soil texture and structure, increases nutrient retention and aids drainage, as well as promoting oxygen levels.

The technique known as single digging requires a little effort, but the results are well worth it. Follow our step-by-step guide to single digging, below.

You will need


Border fork

Organic matter, such as leaf mould, manure or green waste


If the ground is dry enough, winter is a great time for digging - but keep off any soil that is frozen or waterlogged.

Dig a neat trench as deep and as wide as the spade, turning the soil onto the side as you go, breaking up large clods.

Add home-made compost, leaf mould or manure to the trench, or use bags of green waste bought from the council.

Fork compost into the soil, breaking up the base of the trench to improve the drainage beneath.

Work your way down the bed, only walking on un-dug ground. Turn topsoil from each trench into the previous one.


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