Posted: 01/11/2012 at 21:30
I use the no dig principle. The first year I prepared the beds by double digging in horse muck on one bed and mushroom compost in the other. did the same thing with a flower bed last year and another veg bed this year.
There after I've not dug but covered with horse muck at about this time and also use home made compost in the spring on the beds not covered in Autumn. The beds get a mulch of seaweed too during the growing season and I've got a leaf mulch for the flower bed.
The first beds I made haven't been walked on for about 3 years now. I can reach across the beds with a fork (4ft wide) so the soils turned over in the spring, probably down to a depth of 6' and then I rake and just loosen the top with a hand fork when I'm planting out.
Lots of stones and old bits of tiles came to the surface the first couple of years on the older beds but now there's very little rubble and the soil stays black all summer with very few weeds. You still need to hoe occasionally but weeds like dandelions can be pulled out with their tap root still attached whole.
There were few worms to start with but now the soil can't be turned without uncovering a worm, they are in the compost bin, under pots, just about everywhere. .