I have just taken over an extra half plot of land to augment my existing allotment; and my eldest son Andrew and I are in the process of preparing it for cultivation next Spring [2017.] The reason behind this extra work is that I now have three homes to feed with fruit and vegetables. There is my own home, Andrew's young family and now Peter, son number two, is married and settled in Manchester. His wife is a vegetarian, so vegetables form a large part of their diet.So there is added demand on my gardening. I don't mind, for I have the time to garden, especially as I am winding up my tuition business and will have ended it by June. So more time for the allotment!
The plot was held by a young couple who had a young family, which they home educate. Lovely people, but they could not keep up the demands of a plot while rearing a family and the husband is working difficult hours. They have done a pretty good job of being rid of perennial weeds, but the ground surface show signs that it has been allowed to become overgrown with tussocky grass. So Andrew and I have begun the clearing process. Andrew took off much of the surface vegetation while I trimmed the bushes in the flower bed. Then we both set about digging, turning over the clods and extracting couch grass roots. This is troublesome weed species that must be rooted out. I am glad of the help of a younger man, and we are going to get help from my two daughters-in-law in Spring, but they have already decided that they want to help with herbs and flowers.
So without some digging no gardening can take place. Vegetables like a good, fine tilth, a soil turned into a fine crumb structure, and there they thrive. Furthermore, if you grow root crops such as potatoes you need to dig them out, and the same goes for carrots and parsnips. Furthermore, hoeing has a seriously important place in creating tilth, but hoeing disturbs only the surface and does not go as deep as digging does. In fact some digging can go down to two spades or more in depth,Sometimes you need to do this to eliminate pernicious weeds, such as Japanese knotweed.
Trees and rhubarb, both involve occasional digging. Every five years or so you need to lift and divide your rhubarb crowns to ensure continued vigour. So you must dig them up and break them into two or more pieces. If you plant trees you need to dig a hole for them to go into. So gardeners cannot avoid digging sometimes.