How to dig up the earth by hand: with a shovel, quickly, easily, a miracle shovel, in spring, autumn, photo, video

For some, a vegetable garden is an opportunity to provide their families with delicious and natural products, for others it is an interesting hobby, and for some it is even a real means of survival. In any case, the cultivation of land in the cultivation of a vegetable garden is the most significant and labor-intensive part of all work. In some cases it is not so easy to dig up a garden with a shovel, but in small areas this method is still one of the main ones for cultivating the land.

Choosing the right tool

However, with the development of modern technologies, many improvements to the ordinary shovel have long been invented. They allow somewhere to speed up the process, and somewhere to simplify it so that digging the ground by hand was not so difficult, and the consequences of physical exertion did not so much affect the general well-being.


One of the most ancient devices, which is often used to dig up a vegetable garden, is an ordinary pitchfork. However, digging pitchforks are traditionally used to dig up the ground. They differ from ordinary pitchforks in more powerful and shorter teeth, which in their cross section are more reminiscent of a trapezoid. Most often they are not welded, but forged.

A pitchfork is a much more convenient tool for cultivating the ground than even a shovel. It is not for nothing that many of the subsequent modern improved devices were made precisely on the pitchfork principle. After all, they allow you to simultaneously raise the layers of soil, loosen them without cutting the roots of the weeds. At the same time, the total load on the body is significantly reduced due to the fact that a significant part of the soil passes through the teeth, and there is no need to tear it off the ground.

As a result, the forks are particularly well suited for digging up particularly damp and heavy soil, which can stick too much to the metal parts of the workpiece. Therefore, they are most often used to dig up clay or stony soils.

In addition, the use of a pitchfork is more than justified in order to easily dig up a section of the garden overgrown with grass. Because sharp teeth are much easier to penetrate the grassy turf of the garden than a solid shovel blade. At the same time, they do not cut the roots of perennial weeds, but pull them out to the surface of the earth as a whole. This allows for more efficient weed control later on. Indeed, many weeds, such as wheatgrass, are able to germinate with ease even from small pieces of rhizomes left in the ground.

The pitchfork is also indispensable for two-tier digging of a site, when it is necessary to loosen the second, lowest layer of earth with their help.

To dig up a garden with a pitchfork, it is enough to make a minimum amount of effort. But for large plots of land, even more labor-saving devices were invented, which will be discussed below.


The shovel, of course, is an unrivaled tool in terms of versatility, since with its help you can not only dig up almost any area, but also dig a hole or trench of almost any size. With a shovel, you can also dig up garden beds, flower beds, and overgrown with perennial weeds, virgin land that has not been cultivated for several years. Of the hand tools, perhaps only a shovel can fully cope with virgin soil. A pitchfork can be a good addition, but a well-sharpened shovel can handle too dense turf.

Attention! The most reliable and durable tool for digging up virgin lands is a titanium shovel.

To quickly dig up a garden with a shovel with minimal effort, the length of its handle should be such that its end reaches the elbow when the blade is immersed in the ground by 20-25 cm. Sometimes a shovel handle with a special grip is used. But it can be less convenient to dig with it. It is suitable for those whose fingers do not have great strength.

A rounded shovel blade can also make work easier as it slides into the ground more easily than a straight one.

Miracle shovel "Mole"

The constant striving for excellence and facilitating the hard work of digging up land on the site has led to the emergence of a variety of devices, among which the miracle shovel is the most popular. She has many different modifications, but they are all created according to the same principle.

Miracle shovel Mole is an aggregate consisting of two opposite forks, width from 43 to 55 cm. The number of teeth can vary from 6 to 9. The main working forks are movable and are bolted to the frame on which the counter teeth are located. A foot rest is attached to it, which makes it easy, without additional load for the back, to drive the shovel into the ground. After that, the handles of the tool handle are tilted first towards themselves, and then down. In the last action, the working forks push the soil layer through the opposing teeth, freeing the soil from weeds and at the same time loosening it. Correctly digging the ground for the garden means trying not to mix the upper and lower layers of the soil unnecessarily.

Important! The advantage of digging up the earth with a "mole" in comparison with an ordinary shovel is that the fertile soil simply loosen up, but does not change its location in space, and even more so does not go down.

Despite the significant weight of the miracle shovel "mole", about 4.5 kg, it is not difficult to work with it. It can only be dragged around the site. But most of the efforts to penetrate into the ground occurs precisely due to the weight of the tool itself.

In the video, you can clearly see how to dig the earth with a miracle shovel:

In addition, thanks to the more convenient work, the process of digging a vegetable garden is accelerated. In 1 hour, you can process from 1 to 2 acres of land, depending on its density. At the same time, fatigue, especially in the back and arms, is felt to be minimal. Therefore, the miracle shovel "mole" is especially popular among women and the elderly, for whom it was almost impossible to dig up a garden before.

There are also limitations in the work of the "Mole" miracle shovel. It will be difficult for her to dig up virgin lands, he is more adapted to dig up beds or flower beds in the country, slightly overgrown with weeds.

In addition, due to the rather high handle, it will be difficult for them to operate in a low greenhouse.

Ripper "Excavator"

The principle of using double forks for lifting and loosening the ground is used in many designs, in particular the excavator ripper. Compared to the mole, the excavator has differences in design:

  • The forks are attached at an angle to each other on hinges, while there is no fixed bed.
  • The device initially has two shafts, which are then connected together in the handle.
  • The footrest takes up more space, making the tool wider and making work even easier.

But all these differences are not fundamental, in general, the principle of operation of the "Digger" ripper is not much different from the miracle shovel.

Important! Due to their large width, it is quite convenient for them to dig up large tracts of land, for example, preparing a vegetable garden for planting potatoes.

But for the same reason, the unit may be of little use for narrow beds or flower beds.

Shovel "Tornado"

Tornado is a fairly well-known brand name under which many garden tools are produced. A shovel "tornado" in its structure and principle of operation is practically no different from the miracle shovel "mole".

But there is also a popular "tornado" ripper, which is a long rod with rounded long handles at one end and sharp teeth, twisted clockwise. It allows you to dig and loosen the ground to a depth of 20 cm. The handle of the tool is easily adjusted in length to the height of the person working with the "tornado".

Due to the small size of the tool, it is especially convenient for them to work on small plots of land, under trees or bushes, in small flower beds or narrow beds. "Tornado" allows you to work even slightly overgrown with grass areas of the land, but for large areas it is of little use.

Swivel Wonders

A somewhat similar principle of operation is used when working with a rotary miracle pitchfork. They consist of a long shaft with a long T-shaped handle. The main rod is also adjustable in length to adapt as much as possible to the height of the person working with it.

Attached to the bottom of the bar are forks that plunge into the ground and then turn with the force of the handle used as a lever.

When working with the pivoting miracle forks, forces towards the back or legs are also eliminated. Labor productivity also naturally increases. But the tool is not well suited to work with hard or stony ground.

Fokin's flat cutter

This amazing tool was invented not so long ago, at the end of the last century. But he has already managed to gain great popularity for himself due to his lightness and versatility.

With Fokin's flat cutter, you can quite easily carry out the following types of work:

  • loosening the soil;
  • crushing pieces of earth;
  • the formation of beds;
  • pruning and removing weeds;
  • hilling;
  • cutting grooves in the ground for sowing different crops.

In this case, there are several models of flat cutter, differing in the size of the blade. Thus, the plane cutter is suitable both for processing relatively large plots of land (up to several hundred square meters), and for narrow places where you can hardly get to with the help of any other tool.

Hand cultivator

Hand cultivators are a whole class of tools designed to dig up a vegetable garden, loosen and create beds.

There are 3 main types of hand cultivators in total:

  • rotary or star-shaped;
  • cultivators-rippers;
  • root removers.

As the name suggests, in the cultivators of the first type, several star-shaped rippers are mounted on the central axle.

By pressing on the handle and simultaneously driving the unit along the ground, the soil is loosened with simultaneous destruction of weeds. But these models are not well suited for working on difficult types of soil, especially if they are covered with a hardened clay crust.

In the latter cases, it is necessary to seek help from a cultivator-ripper. It has several rather short, but very hard and sharp curved teeth scrolling along the central axis. With their help, this unit, with the application of some effort, is able to cope with rather dense and heavy soils.

Root removers are ideally suited for spot loosening of the soil, removal of weeds with a powerful and deep rhizome, as well as for digging holes when planting seedlings of garden crops.

How deep do you need to dig the ground

There are several approaches to land cultivation. Some gardeners believe that the earth must be dug up annually, at least to the depth of the shovel bayonet, that is, 25-30 cm.

Others, who advocate a more natural, organic approach to growing plants, consider it necessary to only slightly loosen the top layer of the earth annually, up to 4-5 cm deep. This should be enough for sowing and for the initial development of seeds. In the future, the roots of plants make their own way, using natural passages in the soil. True, with the second method, it is necessary to annually create a significant layer of organic mulch on the beds, at least 10-15 cm thick.

In any case, if we are dealing with virgin soil, that is, a piece of land densely overgrown with grass, then initially it must be dug up at least once. This is necessary, first of all, to remove the rhizomes of weeds, which will not allow young shoots of cultivated plants to fully develop.

How to quickly and easily dig up a vegetable garden

To quickly dig up a garden, it is advisable to adhere to the following technology:

  1. First, mark the approximate boundaries of the future garden with the help of pegs and a stretched rope.
  2. Then a trench is dug along one of the sides, about a shovel bayonet deep. The width of the trench in this case is also equal to the width of the shovel blade.
  3. All the extracted soil is immediately freed from the roots of weeds and possible mechanical additives (stones, debris).
  4. The earth from the first trench is put in a separate place so that later it can be used.
  5. In parallel with the first, the next trench is dug, from which the previous groove is filled with earth.
  6. According to this scheme, they continue to dig up the ground until the marking of the plot prepared for the garden is completed.
  7. Then the last trench is filled with pre-deposited earth from the first trench.

How to quickly dig up virgin soil

Virgin lands are usually called plots of land that have not been cultivated for 10 or more years. They are usually covered with a thick layer of turf, which makes both sowing and caring for garden plants difficult. But on the other hand, a lot of substances useful for the growth and development of plants have been accumulated in the rested earth, which can serve for the benefit of the gardener. It will be possible to quickly dig up virgin soil in the country, maybe not immediately, but the result will be worth the effort.

There are several methods of processing virgin lands, but only one can be called fast - the creation of bulk beds. In this case, the surface of future beds is covered with cardboard or other materials, and the aisles are treated with herbicides. Then, from above, the future beds are covered with pre-prepared fertile soil. It is used for sowing seeds or planting seedlings.

This method, despite its speed, is very material-intensive, since the land for planting will have to be specially mined on the side. If time permits, you can do otherwise. Just cover the areas allotted for the beds with a layer of cardboard, press down with heavy objects and leave the soil to ripen for the whole season. In this case, by the fall, the entire herbaceous part of the sod will rot and the land will be ready for processing using any of the above tools.

You can also dig up virgin soil in the country with your own hands by simply turning the cut layers of sod with green grass down. Potatoes are planted in the resulting cracks, which, after sprouting, are abundantly mulched with any organic matter.

By autumn, on the former virgin soil, you can both harvest potatoes and get land that is quite suitable for further processing.

How to properly dig up the ground under the garden

There are several basic rules on how to properly dig the earth with a shovel so as not to cause any special damage to your health:

  • You should not try to dig up the entire piece of land at one time, especially if its area is quite significant, and the experience of physical exertion after winter is reduced to zero.
  • The shovel must be installed vertically in relation to the ground, so that with minimal effort the bayonet can enter the ground to its maximum depth.
  • Do not pick up too much soil on the shovel at a time. It is better to do more small but frequent movements.
  • There is no need to dig in the soil that is still damp after winter or frozen. This can lead to even more compaction of the earth. It is better to wait a little while the soil dries out a little.
  • You should not walk on an already dug up piece of land before sowing or planting seedlings, so as not to reduce all the effort spent to zero.

How to dig up an overgrown area with a shovel

There is another way to dig a site overgrown with grass. To do this, it is pre-treated with one of the herbicides. After a few weeks, the site is dug up according to the technology described above. A week later, a complex of mineral fertilizers is applied and the soil is loosened again.

The land is ready for sowing and planting.

How to dig frozen ground with a shovel

As mentioned above, it does not make much sense to dig up frozen ground to build a vegetable garden, since after this procedure the soil can become even more compacted. But if there are some special circumstances that force you to dig frozen ground, then you can use the following techniques:

  • Make a fire at the site of the future digging and, after it burns out, dig the already warm earth.
  • Use a jackhammer or pickaxe, and only after removing the upper frozen horizon, continue digging with a shovel.

Do I need to dig a garden in the fall

Autumn digging of land is especially necessary for the initial development of an overgrown plot or virgin land. In this case, it is best to dig up the earth in large layers and leave it in this form before winter. Frost penetrates into the formed cracks and more reliably chills weed seeds, preventing them from developing further in the spring. It is best to dig the ground in the fall with the simultaneous application of phosphorus fertilizers to the soil, so that by the spring they become available for plant roots.

In addition, after the autumn digging, the soil, as a rule, is well saturated with oxygen.

But if the garden has been developed for a long time, then there is no particular point in digging it up in the fall. It is better to lay it with an additional layer of mulch, which, having rotted, will serve as a good fertilizer for plants in the spring and summer.


To dig up a garden with a shovel means to carry out a more thorough and reliable cultivation of the land before planting cultivated plants. And the abundance of improved models of shovels and forks will allow you to carry out this work as soon as possible and with minimal effort.

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