I’ve noticed over the past few days there are many differences in the hand dug garden and the machine tilled garden. Namely, the seedlings in the double dug space are growing at an enormous rate, even though I did not amend the soil at all! The seedlings in the tilled space are struggling and need much more water than the other ones. Even with manure amended soil and an organic liquid fertilizer they still struggle.
It’s very interesting to see because I never really thought about it before. The hand dug soil was not broken up as finely and has more air pockets, so I’m guessing this is why those plants are doing so much better. The tilled soil was very fine and soft and felt wonderful, but I’ve noticed that because it is so fine, it has settled and compacted around the little plants, which is why they’re struggling so. The hand dug soil is also loosened up far deeper than the machine tilled, going a full 2 feet down as opposed to 6-8 inches.
Even though the double digging was labor intensive, I do see a huge positive difference and I will most likely dig further garden spaces by hand.