Wednesday, March 30, 2016

No-dig: the story so far

I was converted to no-dig a few months ago in the bath, listening to Gardeners' Question Time. I've been aware of the concept for years, of course, and had been inclined to say, in The Long Bar with The Old Man after a hard day's digging at the original Pig Sty Avenue that it was a load of hippy nonsense. Anyway, somebody asked a question about no-dig, and what got to me was the tone of the three experts.

Mind, these are all people who make a living from horticulture, and have been formally trained in it. They weren't saying it might be a good idea, they were saying it's the only idea. Dig if you want to, it's good exercise, cheaper than a gym and you meet a nicer class of person. (Clearly, Bob Flowerdew has not encountered some of the gobshites who lean on my plot's fence and give me unsolicited advice.)

Their attitude reminded me of mine on questions of English usage. People, usually in the pub, knowing what my job is will often assume that I will weigh in with lofty disdain with regards to any questionable or novel form of usage. Rising intonation at sentence ends is a favourite bugbear of the over 50s, for example. I don't even bother to explain, usually, that only numpties regard grammar as prescriptive, those of us who make a living from grammar, who've studied it in depth, have a descriptive attitude: if lots of people are doing it, then that's how it's shaping up. Get over it.

And so it was with GQT's panel of horticulturalists and no-dig. That's the way to do it. Do anything you like with your own earth, but no-dig is just downright better for that earth. End of.