Each year before the main crop until good soil structure is established Spread a layer of compost over the entire area to be dug. After marking the bed, place the digging board on the bed, leaving approximately 24 inches from the end of the bed for the +rst trench.Remove 7 +ve-gallon buckets of soil from the upper level of the +rst trench (assuming a 5-foot-wide growing bed; see illustration on this page).
Be sure to dig trenches across the width of the bed. This will give you 3 buckets of soil to make compost (these will eventually be returned to the growing beds in the form of cured compost), 1 bucket of soil to make flat soil to grow seedlings, and the remaining 3 buckets are returned to the bed after it is dug.
Next, move back the digging board (approximately the 12-inch width of the next trench). Dig another trench behind the +rst one, moving each spadeful of the top 12 inches of soil forward into the +rst trench. When digging, make as few motions and use as little muscle as possible in this process. This will conserve your energy and involve less work.
In fact, as you dig the soil, you will discover you can use an Aikido-like economy of motion and energy in which you are virtually just shifting your balance and weight rather than digging. Sometimes you will have to work over a trench a second or third time to remove all the soil and obtain the proper trench size. Repeat the subsoil loosening process in the second trench.