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Thread: New allotment owners! Please help!

  1. #1
    lukeklimfree is offline Germinator
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    Default New allotment owners! Please help!

    Hi everyone, my wife and I have just acquired an allotment plot (8 rods I think) and we are both novices at the whole process really so would like some advice please.
    It's very overgrown with grass, brambles and weeds so my plan is to strim down the grass and go from there but we're not sure what's best to do next. We want to hit the ground running quickly so we can get cracking. We've been advised on a turf cutter, rotavators and double digging, but would like to know others advice. Many thanks

  2. #2
    Baldy's Avatar
    Baldy is offline Early Fruiter
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    Double digging is good exercise / hard work. Depending on the weeds if you use a rotavator you will need to rotavate more than once - otherwise you will just be dividing the weed roots and making more weeds a month down the line. I'd suggest strimming it back so that you can see what you have - plan where things like sheds and greenhouses would be best located. Divide your plot into workable sections and clear a section at a time. That way you can start to sow / plant as you go along.
    Personally I am mostly no-dig gardening these days - so an option would be to strim a section down - cover with a thick layer of much - cardboard for example - put a layer of compost on top and then sow crops - a simple version of a raised bed.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIojWdJz0RE

    Welcome along by the way... its a helpful forum.

    Someone else will doubtless comment and show you that if you ask a gardening question you'll always get more than one answer

    1574 gin and tonics please Monica, large ones.

  3. #3
    Cadalot's Avatar
    Cadalot is offline Early Fruiter
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    Here is my take on things Alans Allotment: Clearing a New Allotment

    . .......Man Vs Slug
    Click Here for my Diary and Blog
    Nutters Club Member

  4. #4
    quietandy is offline Germinator
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    All i can add to the above is little by little. Start in one area and do not move on until that area is complete. Try and not go from one area to another and another before any of them are finished. The best advice i got was to start small. I decided to strim all the weeds down to ankle length and weedkiller. Left it for two weeks then raked up all the dead weed and either burnt it or piled it in an area i wasn't going to be concentrating on. Then and only then did i start digging. I had heavy clay soil so i had to buy a decent fork and spade. It is best to start with a fork for getting all the weeds and roots as mentioned above. I had a ton of bricks in amongst my soil so i regularly bent the forks. Because i was thorough in my weeding at the start i can now use a small rotavator in my beds.

    Do not panic and do not try and cut corners.

    Good luck and enjoy the whole process.

  5. #5
    bikermike is offline Rooter
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    congrats on your new plot.

    A couple of points
    1) it's a marathon not a sprint - each year I see new people take on plots. Some fail, some succeed. The ones who try to do the whole plot in one go seem to fail more than the others.

    2) It's supposed to be fun, and you should want to get some veg out of it.

    3) double-digging is a lot of hard work.

    Do you have access to compost? The only drawback with "proper" no dig is that you need a lot of it (effectively you grow in a layer of compost with cardboard weed barrier underneath).

    I would suggest (how much veg-growing experience and kit do you have btw? I'm assuming starting with very little)
    digging out and properly clearing one or more beds of say 3m x 1.6 and getting some bought plants in (such as courgettes etc),

    starting a compost heap.

    Cover another couple of areas with weedproof matting/cardboard/etc (remember it will need weighting down), which you can then uncover at your leisure and the weeds will be at least knocked back.

    Make sure you have somewhere to sit and drink tea.

    sheds/shrubs/etc can wait until you've had a bit of a go at it and eaten some home-made stuff.

    Talk to the neighbouring plot owners, I wouldn't have got through my first year without their kind words. Don't be surprised if they take a while to come round - once they know you are going to stick at it, they will be more friendly.
    Cadalot, Baldy and Chestnut like this.

  6. #6
    lukeklimfree is offline Germinator
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    Thanks for the replies. We are both novices to a certain extent but are fairly clued up on what it will take to get it up and running. We've got tools, a fork, spade, loopers, hoe so far.

    There's a shed full of rubbish at one end and my plan is to re-strim the first part of the plot, about a quarter of it, and use that as a starting point.

    You've basically all said along the lines I was going down, i.e with strimming, laying cardboard down (I have access to lots of that thankfully) and covering with compost.
    I have to go out and buy compost first but if we work in small sections then shouldn't be to much trouble

    Thanks for your thoughts
    Cadalot and Baldy like this.

  7. #7
    bikermike is offline Rooter
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    you've got a shed??
    luxury!!
    when I started out we had nothing but a hole in the ground. And we were grateful...


    When you say a shed full of rubbish - be careful what you throw away. You may well find a lot of that stuff is useful once you know what it is.
    Baldy and Derbydal like this.

  8. #8
    Derbydal is offline Seedling
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    Default

    as mike says ,what may seem rubbish now may turn out usefull later ! good look atb Dal.

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