No, that’s not the sound of wellie through puddles – it did rain during the weekend digging.

Instead, that’s part of the latest joke about my digging efforts. My trench has, so I hear, raised some merriment and consternation up at the allotments.

“Is it a drainage system?” asked Barry.

“No, it’s a swimming pool” I answered.

Despite the mizzle of Saturday, there was enough dry to dig for five hours or so before collapsing in front of the Six Nations’ rugby. On Sunday, I got in another 2 hours before the rains came and there was a the small matter of cheering on the Spurs in the Carling Cup final in the afternoon.

After digging the original trench a few weeks back, I hit the books to do the research I should have done before.

Actually, I had done some reading: over several years. The voluminous RHS book on Fruit and Veg told me all I needed to know about the various techniques of digging. And, there was no shortage of advice from the massed ranks of allotment holders and former tenants.

Double digging had been ruled out in my head. Despite it being my dad’s sworn method (of breaking his back), the plot doesn’t lend itself. Just below one spits worth of soil lies a layer of broken rock. Shale, I’m told. I hit it when the digging started.

A basic dig over was never going to do the job. Too many perennial weeds and taproots needed to come out. More to the point, that’s not proper digging. You have to suffer to get the job done properly.


In addition to the advice, Bill had offered his chickens. And, they have done a good job over pecking out weeds at the front of the plot. There was talk of a rotovator. There was even talk of a plough.

But, both of the last two methods would not deal properly with the roots. The plot is already riddled with bits of taproots thanks to the last ploughing job a year or so ago.

Just as well that single digging was my chosen method.


Saturday also saw the appearance of my other weed control method. We got hold of a large piece of carpet through Freecycle. It seemed large as I hauled out of the car. It soon disappeared once on the plot.

By Sunday lunch I had finished digging a plot about 5 metres by 2. That will serve nicely to fit in the onions and garlic. Work also began on another trench.

However, no water wings required.

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