Do it your ‘right way’

Everyone has their own ‘right way’ of doing things when it comes to gardening and allotments. I have seen this cause debate a number of times, no-dig vs dig, when to sow, spacing between seeds, the list is endless.

I recently met a lady who has plot near mine for the first time. The first thing she said to me was “it is great to see someone doing it the right way” and how she doesn’t see it enough these days.

I have had my overgrown nettle and couch grass riddled plot nearly 4 months now and getting it ready for planting is certainly not easy or a quick process! This is because for me I am doing it the ‘right way’.
I have had numerous people say to me ‘why not use a rotavator?’ or ‘have you thought about weed killer?’ My response is always either ‘No chance!’ or ‘Are you mad?!’
Part of me wonders if some of these people are just trying to test me.

1. Why would I take a short cut that yes it going to save time now, but is going to make my life ten times harder in the long run?
To me cutting up a mass of nettle and couch grass roots in to tiny little pieces that will spread everywhere and re-root, sounds like madness.

Why would I want to kill every living organism including the hard working worms under the soil with weed killer?
As well as having my own outdoor space of tranquility , t
he main reason for having an allotment to me is to be able to grow my own produce as naturally as possible, so using weed killer seems completely unethical.

If you don’t have any perennial weeds such as nettles, couch grass and bind weed then rotavating might be right for you, but I am not that lucky.

For me, doing it my ‘right way’ when it comes to getting my plot ready is the only way. I want to feel the soil, really get to know what I am working with from the start and give myself the greatest chance of success.
The soil texture on my plot is completely different in some areas, I would only know this by digging deep into the soil, and hand weeding.


Don’t get me wrong, once the whole plot is transformed and I am in my second year of growing then I am going to try the highly recommended ‘no dig’ method. But for now whilst I have my plot in the state it is, neglected for 4 years other than being rotovated once a year ago, digging deep and weeding is my ‘right way’.

Do your research, make your own decisions, be open to ideas and remember that gardening is a never ending journey of discovery and trial and error.

Everyone has their own ‘right way’ of doing things in life, just because it’s not your ‘right way’ that doesn’t make it the wrong way.



23 thoughts on “Do it your ‘right way’

  1. Steve Quack says:

    Interesting comments about herbicide v no herbicide, dig v no dig.
    Hope you don’t mind me commenting!
    My view is that you are right about getting to know your plot and the best way is to get to grips with it by hand digging. Every ‘spit’ will tell you a different tale about the soil structure and texture.
    Text books and lecturers use to tell you that you can exhaust weeds, especially couch grass by
    mechanical rotavating but I’ve always been sceptical?
    I am guilty of using herbicide but only the appropriate type, at the correct time, dosage when required.
    However, I have found that I can keep my plot as clean as possible by the use of a black plastic mulch which I rotate on individual plots to ensure that the plots receive the necessary irrigation.
    I still winter dig but not any plot that is due to grow brassicas.
    One main benefit, winter digging keeps my activity level high and gets me out of the house now I’m retired.

  2. richiechivz says:

    Wonderful blog post. I think I found myself nodding in agreement with you from start to finish. I know that I feel with my own plot, choosing my own right way of doing things this year is and I hope continues to be a really fulfilling experience.

  3. Beryl says:

    Totally agree. My amazing ‘plot sister’ has a totally different approach and it works for her. Handily though, your ‘right way’ is also mine…:)

  4. Richard and Simon says:

    I completely agree with your approach. It’s exactly what we did to clear couch grass, bind weed and masses of horseradish, we had very few nettles. I spent days on my bum clearing roots my hand. I was well with it though, especially its th onions as we had vey little weeding to do as they grew. Keep going it will me worth while

  5. Flighty says:

    Good for you, I agree with all you say here. It took me months to clear and dig my plot, then a couple of years to really get it as I wanted it. All worthwhile doing though.
    Enjoy your weekend and happy gardening. xx

  6. Kalamain says:

    I’m the kind that would Rotavate… In fact I think I asked if you did that in one of your posts. Hey-ho

    But I’m also someone that would listen to everyone’s advice on things… You never know when you will come across that one nugget of wisdom you never would have thought of.

    I’m also the kind of idiot who will rush in gun blazing… So who am I to comment? B-)

    • livingwithbelle says:

      Haha 🙂 As I said in my post I am certainly always open to justified advice as this is where I have learnt a lot of things as well as books and online research. I just like to do my own research afterwards unless I can see it working.
      I would love to rush through it digging guns blazing, but there is too many weeds and I think my back might break 🙂

  7. Jim Stephens says:

    I followed a similar path to you, starting with a very weedy plot and digging it end to end, burying all the weed deeply as I went. Some nettles came back up, very little else. I dug it again the following year but have been no-dig for the last two seasons.
    I don’t like rotovators, they destroy soil structure and my soil doesn’t form strong structure to begin with. The autumn mulch I do protects the soil overwinter; all that stuff about rough digging and letting the frost break it down is destroying structure and leaching nutrients in my view.
    Having said which, I’ve been gardening, professionally and as a hobby, all my working life and I’m a newbie at no-dig. It’s good to try something new; the theory made sense and it seems to be working.
    As for doing it the right way, there’s no such thing. Who gets to decide? I was taught at college how to single and double dig but on my plot and at my age it isn’t an appropriate method. IMO.

    • LifeatNo.27 says:

      Hi Jim, Thank you for sharing your journey with me, I completely agree. Gardening is about having fun and making your garden/allotment exactly how you want it, no hard rules. Have a great day!

  8. lejardinperdu says:

    I love a good weeding work out! You can’t beat getting down on the soil, pulling those weeds out by hand and going in at the end of the day covered in dirt!

  9. Zoe says:

    Well done you, we also dug our full plot entirely by hand, rejected offers of rotovators and weedkiller. It was hard work, but I’m glad we did it this way. My neighbours on either side still think I’m mad for not immediately destroying anything that’s ‘eating my dinner’ or spray every weed in sight. They just laugh at me when I say live and let live! Ah well, like you say, each to their own.

    • LifeatNo.27 says:

      Great to hear, so many people rush when they get a plot wanting it cleared as quick as possible but this sometimes isn’t good for the soil if using chemicals etc or the owner’s back or confidence. Definitely worth taking your time for both the short and long term benefits I think.

Leave a Reply