Grounding is essential for safety, and proper operation of the equipment.
A good outside ground system is required for proper operation of your radios and transmitters.
NEVER try grounding to a gas pipe!
Water pipes are out now days too, as they are mostly plastic. Not exactly a good conductor, one might say.
I recommend at least 3 or more ground rods, spaced out, all tied together with [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
or heavier wire. Make sure to use the bronze or brass ground clamps rather than the pot metal/Zinc ones. Corrosion is minimal with them, and periodically check them for tightness. Yes, you can dig a hole and pound the ground rod in below the surface, then cover with dirt.
BE SURE TO WRITE DOWN WHERE THEY ARE BURIED. Your rototiller can get an unpleasant surprise!
If your ground has poor conductivity, you can install a plastic pipe around the ground rod and pour copper sulphate crystals into it and water periodically. Some plants really like the copper sulphate, and others...well... not so much.
I would say water once a week min. in Summer and maybe every 2-3 weeks in winter, depending on the amount of rain you get. Some folks recommend using salt, but that can corrode copper quite badly. I would not use salt, myself.
Good grounding can cut a massive amount of the noise level down also. I have seen it for myself at a friends house. He used the copper sulphate trick and his noise level dropped from almost unreadable to pretty clear in 2 days!
You say "It's too hard to pound a ground rod in", "I don't have the strength".
Work smart. Use a Roto-hammer to drive the ground rod in. Just chuck it in the bit and it's in the ground in a few minutes. No broken hammer handles, smashed fingers,
or frayed tempers! Been there, and have both the tee shirt and the hat!
Also you can build a "Tuned Ground". Just what it says. You build an antenna tuner and install it in the ground line.
That can make a great difference in reception. Again I saw it first hand. My friend experimented with many types until he found the best configuration for his situation. (Note: He lived on a 2nd floor apt. and his ground wire was quite long.) Some of the older radio manuals, 'teens to '30's) talk about them. Now days they are almost a forgotten item, but they can work great when properly configured.
Don't forget to check your ground system periodically. Maintaince is sometimes needed.