It's useful for getting the menfolk out of the house, and out from under their wives feet.
However, being female, I have never double dug. I usually just fork the soil over, enough to tickle in any compost or FYM.
Not sure I entirely agree with you AEH. Previously uncultivated soil should be dug to remove perennial weeds etc, as should heavily compacted soil. However I do agree that a well looked after bed does not need winter digging, compost can just be added to the top and the worms will do the rest.
There are areas of my garden where I bitterly regret not having dug them over properly before I started planting. They are now plagued by perennial weeds which I never quite get on top of.
I agree to with punkdoc and Verdun. I'm so pleased I double dug veg and flower beds first before planting. It was so hard work but with a layer of compost, muck or mulch each Autumn the beds now have loads of worms in and look like black gold in all but the hottest summers and weeds pull out so easy...
Digging in Winter though isn't a good plan, best done in the Autumn or Spring.
You could stand on an old plank to spread the weight?
Unfortunatly for us, we have recently moved into a house where the rear garden (in talking to the neighbours) hasn't been worked, at all!!!! in 12 years. All the borders had regrown grass and are heavily compacted. I don't suppose all you folks who don't dig your borders have a spare afternoon do you?
gold cup week suits me
Well, we did dig over our former cow pasture to remove major weeds and then we covered it with black plastic for a year but such is its fertility and its proximity to neighbouring pasture that thistes, nettles, couch grass and creeping buttercup just laughed at us and came back.
They now get nuked or forked out depending on location and surrounding plants but I can guarantee that just a few weeks later there will be nettles and couch grass and creeping buttercup coming back and fresh crops of groundsel and bittercress and dandelions.
It's a constant battle as they grow faster than so called ground cover, weed suppressing perennials. Makes for a lot of compost though and that goes on the veggie beds and new beds. We never dig the raised beds. At best the, ones along the boundary get forked over to remove couch grass before I plant up in spring.
I am slowly doing away with the need for a compost heap, by gradually digging in the kitchen waste into a trench, bit by bit. Eventually the plot is being raised inch by inch, improving the drainage and fibre build up. The only thing I DON'T dig in is citrus peel and mush.
I gather leaves from the roadsides, bag 'em up and let'em rot for a year, then dig THEM in or just let 'em lie on the surface, and til them in as and when.I seldom dig more than 1/2 a spit deep, and the frost, rain and weather does the rest. Lazy bugger, ain't I ? !