How to dig beds in winter

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do To do in January

Do To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do To do in December

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


Step 1

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


Step 2

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.


Step 3

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


Step 4

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


Step 5

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