Double digging consists in opening a trench twice as wide as in ordinary digging, and after the top spit has been removed, the bottom is then broken up but usually left in the same position. Manure is then added before the soil from the next top spit is placed on it.

Considering the depth of soil moved, the better breaking up of the particles, and the enhanced fertility, it is a question if digging is not on the whole a more economic method of cultivation than ploughing. One acre of dug ground will produce better and more saleable crops than 1 1/2 ac. of ploughed ground of a similar nature. The extra cost of digging is therefore more than repaid by the increased yield and value; in addition to which must be reckoned the saving of half an acre's rent, the saving in gathering the crop over a smaller area, and the saving in subsequent cultivation. This proposition may appear more feasible if stated in figures. If an acre of ground dug by the spade or fork is only equivalent in yield to 1 1/2 ac. of ploughed land, one may take the ratio on a larger scale, as follows: -

120 ac. ploughed = 80 ac. dug.

s.

d.

Rent at 2 per acre =

240

0

0

Ploughing at 15s. per acre =

90

0

0

330

0

0

8.

d.

Rent at 2 per acre =

160

0

0

Digging at 2 per acre =

160

0

0

320

0

0

It is evident that if a man can get as much produce off 80 ac. as he can off 120 ac, by a superior method of cultivation, he will be wise in adopting the superior method. He will employ far more labour, and he will be keeping men and their families on the land instead of keeping ploughs rusting in his barns. The question of labour and its arrangement of course requires careful consideration, so that the employees shall have work all the year round at a regular wage; but this is merely a matter of organization. The point for the commercial grower to consider is whether it will pay him better to spend say 330 per annum in half-cultivating 120 ac. of land, or whether it is more to his interest to spend 320 - ten pounds less - in properly cultivating 80 ac. and reaping better results.

What is known as "bastard trenching" is taking out one spit of soil, and then taking up the loose soil or "crumb" at the bottom and spreading it over the top. Work like this will cost about 6d. per rod, i.e. 4 per acre.