TILLING BY HAND (HTH)
By John M. O’Connor, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Double digging is one method used to till soil by hand. A double digger is a tool which resembles a large pickaxe but has two blades instead of just one blade like a traditional pick axe or chisel.
These are useful when digging through clay, sand, gravel or other loose material. They are usually made from iron and have a flat head with serrated edges. You can purchase them at hardware stores.
The main advantage of using a double dugger over a regular pick axe is that it allows you to get into places where you would not be able to reach with your hands alone because of the size of the hole. For example, if you want to dig a small hole for planting seeds in your garden, you could use a regular pick axe or chisel to cut out the space needed.
However, if you wanted to dig deeper than that, then you would need a double dugger.
Another advantage of using a double dugger is that it will allow you to work faster since there is less time spent holding the tool and moving it around while digging. It can also help you create a straighter or more precise hole than you would be able to with just your hands.
The disadvantage of using a double dugger is that it is not as precise when digging. One strike with the pick part of the tool might make the hole you need while another strike in the exact same place might give you a hole that is slightly too deep, and this will make the hole no longer useful for its intended purpose.
The other disadvantage of using a double dugger is that it takes more energy and physical strength to use than just using your hands. This means that you might get tired quicker when using one of these tools.
Using a tool like this is not necessary and the choice to use it or not is completely up to you. It all depends upon what you are trying to achieve and whether this tool would make your job easier or harder.
In order to use a double dugger, you first have to decide what it is that you want to dig. For example, if you are digging a hole for planting seeds, then the size of the hole should be just large enough to allow the seeds to fit in comfortably.
If you make the hole any larger, then it will start to get filled up with soil as you move forward and this will make it necessary to till more soil later.
If you are digging a hole for an object, then the depth of the hole should be long enough to allow the object to fit in, but not much longer than that. Again, if the hole is any deeper than that then the excess dirt will have to be tilled later on.
If you are digging a trench (such as for water pipes), then the width and depth of the trench should be considered. First, make it wide enough to fit the water pipe inside of it.
The depth should be around 2-3 feet, but this will vary depending upon your location and the type of soil in the area.
The first thing that you will need to do is to clear the ground of any obstacles. This means that you will need to remove or break any rocks or roots in the area where you want to dig.
This is because these obstacles will get in the way of your digging and they might damage your tool as well.
The next thing that you need to do is to take a moment to assess the area where you want to dig. If the ground is hard and it does not seem to contain many roots, then you can probably just use the pick part of your tool and go straight to digging.
But, if the ground is made up of looser soil or has a lot of roots in it, then you might want to consider building a simple wood plank frame work. This will help prevent the sides of your hole from crumbling in.
You will need to take the following steps:
1. Hammer a number of wooden stakes into the ground where you want to dig.
The number of stakes that you will need to use will depend upon the size of the hole that you are digging. In any case, the stakes need to be firm enough in the ground that they will not fall over as you are building the frame and that they can support the weight of the soil that you will put on top of them.
2. Take a few pieces of wooden board and lay them across the top of the stakes.
The boards should be just longer than the distance between two stakes. Treated wood is better to use for this because it will resist rot better, but any types of boards that you have available will work.
3. Begin to lay more pieces of wood across the top of these boards.
These pieces of wood (commonly called cross beams) should be narrow enough that they will fit between the stakes. As before, make sure that these beams are long enough that they reach over to the opposite side of the stakes.
4. Take the soil that you dug out of the hole and use it to fill in the area between the stakes and the cross beams.
Pack the soil down as firmly as you can. At this point, you now have a wooden box with open ends.
5. Use more pieces of wood to close off the front and back of the open end of your box.
These boards (which go across the top of the stakes on each side) are commonly called sill boards. Nail these into place.
6. Fill in the open area of the box with more soil and pack it down again.
If you have dug your hole deep enough, then this step alone may be enough to stabilise your hole and prevent any unwanted cave-ins. If it isn’t though, then you will need to add more wood to the frame work.
7. Continue filling in the hole and packing the soil down until it is sturdy enough or you run out of soil.
There are many types of shovels that you can use to dig a hole in the ground. The size of the hole will determine which type of shovel you will need.
A common shovel that people use is the flat shovel, which looks like a regular shovel that has had the blade cut off just behind the edge. This is the type of shovel that most people will use when they are digging small holes for planting small plants.
This is not a very large shovel, so it won’t be of much help if you plan to dig very large holes or pits. A larger version of this shovel can be used to dig deeper holes.
Another common digging tool is the spade shovel. This is an old-fashioned looking shovel with a rectangular blade.
Unlike the flat shovel, this one has a thick wooden handle. This type of shovel is great for turning over large clumps of dirt, but it isn’t always the best tool for general digging because it can be hard on your back.
For medium sized holes that aren’t quite large enough to require a full sized shovel, you can use a trenching tool. This is very similar to a spade shovel, except that the blade itself is flatter.
This is great for general digging because it is not as hard on the back and is also good at turning over dirt clumps.
A mattock is a great tool for chopping through roots and other dense soil types. The head of the mattock has an axe blade on one side and a pick on the other.
This tool can be used to chop through roots, cut apart dirt clumps and break up hard soil. This is a very useful tool for anyone who plans to do a lot of digging.
You can also use the mattock to loosen up the dirt before you dig. Just chop at the ground a little bit and then scrape the chopped up bits with the pick.
The post about how to till garden soil by hand. This report will certainly focus on Tilling By Hand: How To Till Soil By Hand With Double Digging.
Sources & references used in this article:
Weed growth and labor demand under hand-hoe based reduced tillage in smallholder farmers’ fields in Zimbabwe by J Nyamangara, N Mashingaidze, EN Masvaya… – Agriculture, ecosystems …, 2014 – Elsevier
Garden Tillage and Soil Compaction by CC Mitchell, CB Pinkston, A Caylor… – Journal of the NACAA, 2008 – ch.nacaa.com
Acid‐subsoil amelioration: I. A comparison of several mechanical procedures by MPW Farina, P Channon – Soil Science Society of America …, 1988 – Wiley Online Library
Digging and Tilling Implements with Knee Clearance by AJ Hudson, CR Adair – US Patent App. 14/231,188, 2014 – Google Patents
Influence of deep loosening techniques and subsequent wheel traffic on soil structure by GC Soane, RJ Godwin, G Spoor – Soil and Tillage Research, 1986 – Elsevier
Effects of tillage on soil microrelief, surface depression storage and soil water storage by AC Guzha – Soil and Tillage Research, 2004 – Elsevier
Effect of tillage method and sowing time on phenology, yield and yield components of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) under semi-arid conditions in Kenya by CN Onyari, J Ouma, AM Kibe – 2010 – repository.embuni.ac.ke