Posted by: kathandroger | January 31, 2014

Well done Monsieur Grellin.

Digging is  a mystery of life. Most of us do it at least once a year, and it usually results in various bodily malfunctions, a sense of achievement, and the knowledge that we must do the same thing next year. And some gardeners deem it all pointless anyway. Actually I quite like it; on a cold day, getting into a steady rhythm, and seeing all those sods crumbling down. But it is hard work, and that is where M. Grellin came onto the scene. Like lots of good inventions, it is simple common sense really. When we dig we use only one side of the body, twist and lift a lot, and only move a small amount of soil. Why not use a wider device, use both hands and body symmetrically, and save on all those aches  and pains?

His implement he called the Grellinette, although it is far from small, and I am grateful to friend Tim for telling me about it. I looked at several examples, but thought that fewer, wider tines would work as well-mainly because I had some old car leaf springs hanging about in the workshop. With the aid of an old bed frame, some old water pipe, and lots and lots of inexpert welding, I now have my own Grellinette. And, wonder of wonders, it works!image


  1. Glad to be of service…
    hope it works as good as it looks!!
    And don’t forget…

    Is that Red Russian Kale in the background?
    Good tasty stuff if it is!!
    That will give you the energy to finish the row…
    one pass up…
    one pass down….


    make another…
    and race against Kath!!
    Have fun!!!

    • No Kale I’m afraid, but still dining on carrots, snipes, topins and some schorzonera as roots, and leeks and brussels now coming good. It surprises me that the French seem to leave the garden completely fallow all winter.

      • “… leave the garden completely fallow all winter.”

        So did a lot of our older Leeds allotment colleagues!!
        It was how they learnt!!

  2. I’m a big fan of the grelinette (broadfork in English). I got one after seeing the head gardener at Villandry using one and I had a chat with him about them. Tim borrowed mine last year and was converted. You are lucky to be able to work your soil at the moment. I understand it has done nothing but rain recently. I’m not expecting to be able to get anywhere near my potager when I return from Australia in a few days.

    • You are right that the garden will be impossible-the snap was staged! We’ll give you a wave in a couple of days-off to see Oz and NZ for a month!

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