If you have never heard the term trenching your garden before, then you are in for a treat. This method of cultivation is best for doing some deep down garden preparation. By deep down, we are talking about going down about 50 inches into the ground, and mixing up the soil nutrients at that depth. For the most part, this is only necessary or useful when you will be planting plants that will require some deep roots. Luckily the process isn't that difficult, though it does require a lot of digging on your part.
How to trench.
- Dig down. Dig an initial trench that is 2-1/2 feet (30 inches) deep, by about 3 feet wide. Do this for as long as you need the trench to be. Set the soil aside for later use. In this lower trench, repeat the process, but this time digging down to about 20 inches and only about 18 inches wide. Set the soil to the side, in the higher portion of the trench.
- Fork the ground. Using a garden fork, begin loosening the soil in the bottom of the trench. Typically you will fork the bottom layer to a depth of about 20 inches, just to loosen everything up.
- Add compost. On top of this forked layer of soil, begin adding some compost or manure. Make sure that the manure is a good quality one that isn't too dry. Typically you will want to use one that is a slow release compost that will work over a long period of time, and add sufficient nutrients to the lower levels of the roots.
- Replace soil. Replace soil that you removed back into the lower trench. As you are replacing the soil, mix together the soil and the composting material so that there is a nice consistency between the two. This will help ensure that there isn't too much of a concentration of manure in one location, which can end up actually harming your plants.
- Repeat as necessary. Repeat this process as many times as necessary until you have completed preparing your entire garden. As you replace the top most soil, try mixing some more fertilizer, though a bit dryer, for the top most levels. This will help increase the fertility of the top levels, and allow you to also have plants with a shallower root system.
Once you have finished cultivating the garden that you will be using, it is time to begin planting. As you are planting, make sure that you have a watering system in place as well. If at all possible, try to incorporate a drip system that will be near the roots. The best time to do that would be while you are refilling the trenches that you dug.
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