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Thread: New Allotment In December. Your advice good people?

  1. #25
    toastiesmurf is offline Germinator
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    I got out in the allotment for a few hours today, so I thought I would give a little update:
    and ask a few more questions that I dug up. Any thoughts are welcome.

    I have nearly dug over the first bed, and pulled up some existing carrots. About one third or less left on that section. I started to cover another bed with cardboard.

    At the moment, I don't quite understand composting. I know, it should be really simple... I mean, you put stuff in a heap until it rots down and then put it back on the soil. I get that. But do you compost Everything? Any foliage? Roots?

    Unsure what to do with all of the roots that I am pulling up during this dig. I have currently put them in a big blue bucket and am drowning them, then I am going to pour the liquid on the soil and add the decomposed roots to the compost pile. Is this a good way of going about it, or can we go simpler? Because right now I feel like I am literally pulling the life out of the soil.

    I also found three black bin bags with rotten down slushy brown gunk and some roots. I presume this was last owners attempt to deal with their roots? Can I now put this straight on my soil?

    Final issue of the day: I wanted to pull out the purple broccoli that is on one patch, but discovered a load of white flies nesting in the leaves. What should I do with them? Straight on the compost? What about the stems, which are pretty much like tree trunks?

    As you can see, most of my questions today can be boiled down to - what to do with the waste, and is there anything I need to know other than throw it on, let it rot and spread it?

  2. #26
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    For composting, basically, anything that was once alive *can* be composted. You can certainly compost dead roots, from annual plants, or even live roots from not too vigorous plants (they might try and grow, but it won't work and they die then rot).

    You generally shouldn't add meat or cooked food to a simple heap, as it does attract rats, but you can add kitchen scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds (you can often get them free from coffee shops too).

    The only plant matter to worry about adding is anything that could live through the composting; weed seeds, live roots from perennial weeds, which might not die in a small domestic compost heap (they don't get very hot, unlike the huge commercial ones) as some, like dandelion and bindweed have amazing survival skills, also stuff with disease spores that might survive the composting. White flies wouldn't make any difference to the compost- they wouldn't live through it and re-infect the crop that grows in the compost. Saying that, are you sure you want to pull out the sprouting broccoli? It might give you a good crop in spring.

    If you're adding a lot of grass clippings and green foliage (known as 'greens') to your compost, it's a good idea to add some 'browns' as well, which can be stuff like cardboard and newspaper, as well as dry stems and small twiggy bits. It helps it break down fast into nice compost, too many 'greens' can produce sludgy yuck, and it's pretty slow as well (it tends to break down anaerobically with too much green material). The more you can turn the heap, to help add oxygen and mix it up, the faster it will break down.

    Some people skip out the compost heap and spread the stuff straight on the ground. It can work, but it can also give you a great crop of birds if you have kitchen scraps in there!
    veggiechicken and 4Shoes like this.

  3. #27
    burnie is online now Veggie gardener
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikermike View Post
    sorry, can I just ask for clarification on this

    were the strips together or separated?

    ie was it A - space - B - space - C
    And when you say you then expanded it, do you mean A, B & C got wider (presumably encroaching into the space between them), or did you add D, E & F?

    I ask because I have a new portion of my allotment that is grassed over and am looking at easy(ier) ways to start it off.

    My current plan was to just do a row of potatoes this year.
    Sorry for the late reply, been out all day for an early family Christmas dinner...
    I left adequate room between each strip allowing for the ideal finished required size, I didn't want the strips too wide, I had to be able to reach the middle(I applied this method to the raised beds I now have), this allowed for the idea of not compacting the soil. This was not for a "no dig" plot as this was in the early 1980's and I don't think anyone had thought of not digging, I had heavyish soil with some clay at the time and wanted to reduce flooding. The beds began at around 18 inches wide and over a couple of years finished up twice as wide and twice as long as when I started, so I was growing and eating without killing myself trying to dig it all in one go.
    Last edited by burnie; 16-12-2017 at 11:11 PM.
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  4. #28
    toastiesmurf is offline Germinator
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamamelis View Post
    For composting, basically, anything that was once alive *can* be composted.

    Saying that, are you sure you want to pull out the sprouting broccoli? It might give you a good crop in spring.
    Thanks for your advice on composting. Will the purple sprouting broccoli regrow? If so, I will definitely leave it in to get a crop off it.

    Cheers,
    Matt

  5. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by toastiesmurf View Post
    Thanks for your advice on composting. Will the purple sprouting broccoli regrow? If so, I will definitely leave it in to get a crop off it.

    Cheers,
    Matt
    Dunno, what does it look like? Got any pictures?

  6. #30
    toastiesmurf is offline Germinator
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    Default Allotment pics1

    For those who are interested, this is my lovely allotment! Picture 2 shows a sort of panorama of the plot, with the shed in the middle. I have some more to upload to show the bottom part in more detail.

    Cheers!
    Matt
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails New Allotment In December. Your advice good people?-allotment1.jpg   New Allotment In December. Your advice good people?-allotment2.jpg   New Allotment In December. Your advice good people?-allotment3.jpg   New Allotment In December. Your advice good people?-allotment4.jpg   New Allotment In December. Your advice good people?-allotment5.jpg  


  7. #31
    hamamelis's Avatar
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    Looks good!

    If that's your sprouting broccoli there, it looks fine to me. The kale is a bit past it maybe, with not a lot of leaves left, but that looks like nice healthy broccoli. That's about how I'd expect it to look at this time of year, before sprouting in spring.

  8. #32
    Dalrimple is offline Rooter
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    the purple stuff is kale and looks like it's run its course so pull it chop it up and compost it (mine's same and its covered in white flies) i'll be doing mine when weather picks up, it looks like a good plot and full sun all day, keep digging it over and you will soon get there . atb Dal

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