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Thread: First allotment, on weedy steep clay slope. Tips?

  1. #1
    GlynG is offline Germinator
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    Default First allotment, on weedy steep clay slope. Tips?

    Weve recently taken over an allotment as a group of 4, with not all that much gardening experience and one of us none at all. The site is a long thin east facing slope. Its clay soil and apparently thinner on the slope as its been washed downhill over the years, though on the plus side theres a group of plum trees above our site that add organic matter in the form of plums on the ground. We want to do it organically and no dig.

    Wed like to grow mostly perennial edibles and a smaller amount of annual veg. In terms of placement would it make sense to have the annuals on the flat-ish bit at the bottom and the perennials up on the slope? Im thinking the bottom bit would be more fertile and deep to help the annuals and deeper rooted perennials could cope on the slope and help reduce erosion?

    The site probably has a billion slugs on it. Ive put down vast numbers of organic slug pellets but come back the next day to find them all gone already and with so much food in the area I think its a bit of a lost cause. What plants are good to grow that slugs dont tend to eat?

    Any suggestions for good, tasty and/or easy plants to grow? Id like some perennial groundcovers and am thinking of trying New Zealand Spinach which Ive seen growing in Oz but there are probably other good ones.

    Theres bindweed on the site which is a pain but were going to try to keep on top of pulling it up next year and plan to experiment with a line of tagetes minuta between us and one neighbouring plot. Any other good tips for dealing with it on a no-dig, no-spray site?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails First allotment, on weedy steep clay slope. Tips?-3.jpg   First allotment, on weedy steep clay slope. Tips?-1.jpg  

  2. #2
    Norfolkgrey's Avatar
    Norfolkgrey is offline Early Fruiter
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    It all sounds good to me. For perennial plants there is Perennial Vegetables List. There are

    I am a little concerned about the slug pellets all being gone. How are you using them scattered, pots, covered pots? There is still a lot of debate about organic pellets and their affect on hedgehogs and birds. Just grow a bit more than you require, aim for a balance of wildlife, accept not all slugs eat your veg and go on slug hunts and pick them off by hand. Grow things on before planting/ minimal direct sowing.

    I found tagetes minuta stopped weeds from spreading but it didn't stop them completely. Just keep pulling bind weed to weaken it. You can also put sticks in for it to wrap around to make it easier.

    Good luck
    Fruity and Nutty

  3. #3
    no_akira is offline Seedling
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    In the first picture is your plot slopping towards the sun at 12 noon, basically is it south facing?

  4. #4
    GlynG is offline Germinator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norfolkgrey View Post
    I am a little concerned about the slug pellets all being gone. How are you using them scattered, pots, covered pots? There is still a lot of debate about organic pellets and their affect on hedgehogs and birds. Just grow a bit more than you require, aim for a balance of wildlife, accept not all slugs eat your veg and go on slug hunts and pick them off by hand. Grow things on before planting/ minimal direct sowing.
    Thanks for the link!

    I was scattering the slug pellets around and using what to me looked like loads (but without really knowing). I think we just have a high density of slugs and just have to live with it:

    Attachment 76380

    Quote Originally Posted by no_akira View Post
    In the first picture is your plot slopping towards the sun at 12 noon, basically is it south facing?
    I checked by looking the site up on Google Earth Pro and we're both half right - the site and slope is South-East facing.

  5. #5
    1Bee's Avatar
    1Bee is offline Tuber
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    Good luck and looks good!

    NB the mice seem to like the organic (ferrous sulphate?) pellets, so just because they're gone, doesn't mean it's slugs. One of the fascinating/annoying thing about slugs is that the ones that do the most damage are often the least visible. The nasty little brown keeled ones that hide in the soil and decimate your spuds are rarely seen, whereas some of the big, obvious ones only eat detritus and, in fact, sometimes eat other slugs...

    I'm going to try nemaslug for my tattie beds next year. I mostly just try and get along with our friendly neighbourhood moluscs, but peeling hollowed-out spuds makes me weep... ;-)
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    alldigging is offline Early Fruiter
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    Nemotodes - during the growing season - ie: not autumn now.
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  7. #7
    ESBkevin is offline Tuber
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    Looks good and welcome to the vine.

    Organic gets a lot of support on here. To prevent soil erosion you need it to be coverred at all times, be that with ground covering plants (like green manure or grass) or with some other medium like wood chips, compost, cardboard, landscape fabric etc.

    Look up swales as an idea too, where the rainwater rungs down to a dip in the ground and fills it because a mound of good soil prevents it washing down further. A selection of 'swales' accross the slope would give you better erosion control and help retain nutrients.

    Clay soil, lots of organic matter, compost, leaf mould, rotted horse/pig muck, cardboard, grass cuttings etc. Thick layers of the stuff and let the worms pull it down into the soil. It'll save you digging and lighten the soil condition.

    Bindweed - please don't just pull it, the remaining roots re-grow and extend. Either dig it all out meticulously (good for about 3-4 years if done right) or get one of those spot on GEL weed sticks and dab each plant once, wait 7 days and dab again any that survived unscathed to be sure. that kills the roots too and they rot harmlessly in the soil.

    Looking forward to hearing updates.

    Good source for no dig organic is Charles Dowding on Yootoob as a british expert and auther, or Mark at I am organic gardening for the US version with some very good detailed scientific explanations. both these chaps live thier beliefs and have succesful small businesses based on it.

  8. #8
    Chestnut is offline Sprouter
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    Are you allowed to grow fruit on your site?

    If so, maybe you could include some fruit trees or soft fruit bushes in your perennial zone?

    There are also several culinary herbs which are perennials, many of which have lovely scents and flowers. Things like rosemary, marjoram, chives, thyme, sage, mint are all perennials (though mint is best in a pot as it has a tendency to spread)

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