Except in a few exceptional circumstances I have not dug for forty years. ‘Minimum cultivation’ best describes what I do. It may surprise you then, that a small stainless steel border spade is my favourite garden tool! Spades have many uses other than digging, not least making planting slits and holes, edging the lawn and lifting potatoes.
Many gardeners imagine the more they cultivate the soil, the better it will be. My philosophy is the opposite, the more you avoid disturbing the soil, the more the plants will be healthy, and the better the soil structure will be. I am quite evangelical about the benefits of not digging.
Plants of the Week - Astrantia and Alstromeria
An easy basic herbaceous perennial, When, as in the picture on the left (above), it starts to look a little tired and lose its variegation, it can be cut to the ground and will quickly rejuvenate with lovely new variegated growth.
(above right) The Alstromeria survived both winters of 2010! Will flower all summer. Some gardeners don’t like this genus because it ‘runs’ and spreads out. It can run as much as it likes for me! It propagates well by division in April as long as you insert your spade very deep.