I recommend never digging again!
I’ve never understood why conventional farming involves digging up the soil or why home gardeners dig it up with a spade every season. Perhaps it’s to remove weeds, or to loosen up the soil so the roots can grow penetrate the soil easier. As far as I know, this doesn’t happen anywhere in nature. Don’t the plants drop their leaves on top of the soil, which are then recycled by worms and bacteria to create a humus rich topsoil which then in turn supports the plants for the whole thing to happen all over again? Whole forests seem to grow just fine this way.
Unless you enjoy digging up your garden, I’d suggest you never do it again. Let the worms and soil bacteria do their jobs without interruption. Build it up instead.
Simply add layers of manure, hay, compost, seed-free garden waste, mushroom compost or manure pellets on top of the soil – no need to dig it in.
New gardens can be started this way too – just start with a thick layer of newspaper or cardboard to suppress weeds. Below are photos of a new garden being built layer by layer. You don’t need to use the same materials I have – just go for a variety of different ones if you can.
Some gardeners advise that the bed should be left for a few weeks to breakdown somewhat, but I never bother. I simply dig little holes into the bed, add a handful or two of compost or garden soil and put my seedlings or seeds in that. By the time the plant gets settled and starts to spread it’s roots, the layers in your no dig bed will have already started to breakdown.
Building a no-dig garden
a six layered no dig garden in photos
… and the results