The back-breaking job of digging the garden is not only unnecessary hard work – but it is bad for the environment, according to B&Q.
There is an alternative “no-dig” method to the traditional horticultural advice, according to Tim Clapp, head of product range at Kingfisher, the parent company of the DIY chain.
It may seem like surprising advice for a store that sells garden spades, forks and trowels to prepare flower and vegetable beds.
However, Mr Clapp was advocating the “no-dig” movement that has been pioneered by British gardener Charles Dowding.
Gardeners can help the soil regenerate naturally by tipping a layer of compost across the surface once or twice a year and leaving the worms to do the digging, according to the English horticulturalist and author.
Mr Dowding explains on his website that when soil is turned over it recovers from the disruption by recovering with weed growth. By contrast, when left uncultivated, it has less need to recover and therefore grows fewer weeds.
“[Digging] is the old way of doing things. What today we’re here to say actually, that is quite hard work,” said Mr Clapp.
“And there is, we believe, an alternative way to doing that and for that we have to thank Charles Dowding and his methods.”
Mr Clapp said digging damages bacteria and fungi in the soil, as well as causing carbon buried in the soil to form the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide when exposed to air.
“Carbon is like the glue within the soil. And the higher the carbon is, the better it is. But of course by digging it, we’re exposing that carbon to oxygen within there, and that turns into CO2,” said Mr Clapp.
“With the no-dig system, you can actually start to put the carbon back into the soil and it’s a really nice thing that we can do.”