When it gets to the bottom of the soil where the soil in it is deep and clayey (so that any surface contaminants and other types of contaminants don’t stick to it), it will take about a 2.5-3 hours to dig the hole. The temperature will go up, and it may take an additional hour or so to put the probe in the hole. It will then start to dig up the soil layer that has covered it. The temperature of the soil will raise as well, and the excavator will work its way down into the soil layer and dig it up. Once it is digging out the soil and working the soil, the temperature will drop, and the digger will stop. The probe will start moving once all the dirt is gone. This step isn’t usually the most arduous part, but it creates holes that allow water to flow through the digging equipment, and is a lot more time consuming than digging a hole with soil.
When the digger is done, it is supposed to take the soil down and pour it into the pot. If it doesn’t do this, the soil can leak out the bottom or bottom of the pot again. The digger is supposed to pour out a stream of soil (approximately 10 gallons/250L) and drain it out again. This seems to be the typical operation, and one of the benefits to the new-style digger. If it doesn’t, then the soil can sit on the outside of the pot, and even freeze up on the outside. This is caused by a phenomenon called stratification, a result of not properly heating soil. That said, this is pretty cool and we aren’t complaining.
On with the main point…
The above diagram depicts the two diggers. Here it is (click for a larger version):
The larger digger has a larger pot, so much more water can be pumped into the pots if necessary in order to get rid of all the impurities and contaminants. The smaller digger will just dig into the back of the bigger digger. Of course, the larger digger can dig deeper, which means there is more scope for contamination to happen. Also, it takes longer, but the digger can dig deeper than the smaller digger. The only issues in using a larger digger are that the water must have a higher level of heat or it won’t reach deeper into the pot to get rid of all the impurities and contaminants.
After digging the pot, the diggers are supposed to pour out the whole contents of the pot in a bucket containing the pot and soil. At least that is what I was told, but there was no way for me to verify or verify there is no mixing. If the soil is contaminated, then there will be a lot of sediment in the bucket with the pot, and if the soil is not contaminated, there will not be a lot of sediment in a bucket with the soil. It is also important to note that none of my materials were contaminated with any type of microorganisms. I know I’ve mentioned “clay” in the past, but that was probably because I put it on the outside of my pot (a non-contaminating type of clay). In the photos I used, it could have been from a surface dirt that my pot was not properly sogged after it was dug. However, even if there was some surface dirt in the pot that might have been contaminated, I wouldn’t have put it in a bucket, and I certainly wouldn’t have put it in a bucket of soil with soil in there. My pots were not filled with anything. They were filled with an organic material (soil), and everything else was completely natural in appearance.
So, after some digging, we are left with all of ourselves looking pretty much clean.
The digger I used is a digger I picked up in Texas. I got it because I had a few holes that I wanted to fill in, and the best solution at the time was to simply chuck out a hole with soil in it (as I mentioned, a non-contaminating clay, as this pot isn’t), and then pour in the dirt and fill it. I also was worried it would make a big mess if I used it on a regular basis, but it did fine. I would have preferred to buy another one, but the price for an entire new digger was not very high. Just as long as you don’t mix it at your new home, it shouldn’t make much of a mess either.
Finally, the fun part…
The dirt that got poured out was mixed well with the pot, and as long as it wasn’t contaminated with “organic residue”, there was no problem. I was surprised, however,