Digging Tips

In our eagerness to clean up the garden and start new outdoor projects, we often use muscles groups we haven’t exercised for most of the winter months. At the end a spring day in the garden, we frequently experience sore muscles. A day of digging can tire your feet and back if you don’t do it properly. If you are like most, no one ever showed you how to dig properly. Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to dig more with less discomfort.

  1. Get a long-handled digging shovel with the right lift and keep it sharp for easier digging. Bob Denman, Red Pig Garden Tools Boring, Ore., can help match you with the correctly sized shovel. If the top of the handle is chest height and tilts away to arm’s length, you have the right size shovel.
  2. Put the blade in straight (the handle will tilt away from you); step down onto it. Pull the handle back to your chest; let the shovel do the scooping, not your back. Take smaller bites of soil to make the work easier.
  3. Slide one hand towards the blade and the other out towards the handle’s end. Drop your fanny and lift with your legs. Pull up with one hand and push down with the other to lift the load.
  4. Never twist at the waist. Always drop the dirt just to one side or the other, or out in front.