I'm not sure where I first heard that line about letting the earthworms do your digging for you, but I'm putting it to the test this year. It's part of my effort to get away from digging in amendments every year, which is hard on the worms (they have permanent tunnels) and can even be hard on soil structure. Besides, it's too much damn work!
This year, I've got another excuse: no time. My shoulder injury last autumn meant that I barely managed to finish the harvest. As for cleaning up plots, laying down compost, prepping new plots—forget it. None of that happened.
Which means that all of that was left for spring. Which, as most of you know, has its own task list.
Now, some people faced with a particularly steep challenge will leap into action.
I, however, generally feel as if I'm not only behind the 8-ball, but, all too often, that I'm struggling to find the address where the game is being held. So given my own inertia, the extra load of work awaiting me, and this spring's extremely unconducive weather, I'm still prepping plots in June.
However, I will admit to taking shortcuts. I've been sifting compost, including the pile
I built two autumns back, featured in the post, Hot Compost, Anyone? A year ago, when it was half this size, I planted potatoes in it; this spring, I've been sifting it, adding a bit of fertilizer (depending on the crop) before laying it down in a thick layer (about 3” deep) on plots that are up and running. But I'm not digging it in. I'll let the worms do that.
Here's hoping they carry down the potassium and phosphorus plants need. Those two nutrients, unlike nitrogen, are fairly immobile in soil, so I run the risk that plants will either not get what they need, or that they'll develop very shallow root systems in order to get it, since I provide those nutrients only at the surface. I've got my fingers crossed.