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  1. #1
    Muriel is offline Seedling
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    Nov 2005
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    Stoke on trent
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    Default I'm struggling with my allotment

    I took on a rather overgrown allotment about 3months ago.I have managed to clear most of it,but I haven't been able to go down for a while. Well to cut a long story short,I finally got to go down again a few weeks ago only to find it water logged.So as I am now waiting to go down,we have had all this frost.can anyone give me any tips as to what i could do next.any help would be most appreciated,as this is my first time on an allotment.

  2. #2
    Geordie's Avatar
    Geordie is offline Tuber
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    Sep 2005
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    Newcastle
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    Default

    Hi Muriel,

    The first thing I would say is not to panic, your problems are typical of those faced by many allotment holders! I have many demands on my time, be it family, work or 100 other things. Usually when I plan to visit the allotment, it rains or something else crops up etc etc.

    Try and concentrate on the positives.....that you have decided to start an allotment and the progress you have already made.
    I know a lot of books etc will tell you this time of year is best to dig over and clear the allotment. Dont worry if this is not the case, by the sounds of it you have already cleared quite enough. September (?) is a good time to get an allotment because you loose very little growing time getting it put into shape.

    Its a little difficult to envisage what stage your allotment is in but this may help:
    If the allotment is frozen or waterlogged just forget it as you will damage the soil structure just by walking on it, your time may be better spent getting organised for 'spring'. This might include, ordering seed catalogues....planning what veg you want to grow and where in the allotment you want to grow it. This is a point worthy of some carefull consideration as it will save you time and help produce better veg. Do you have a collection of plant pots, seed trays etc that need cleaning? Are there any repairs to fences or frames etc that can be done? Do you have any fruit bushes that you have uncovered that could be pruned? Can you add anythiong to improve the soil, eg manure etc. Is it easier to buy things like compost or grow bags little and often?....if so start now

    Dont panic over the state of the soil....a cleared area will give you room to start in early spring but some of your veg will not be planted untill May....plenty of time to dig or weed the rest of the allotment. Not much will grow between now and February so a little hand weeding should keep on top of what you have already done.

    I would say use the time now to get as organised as possible so when planting time comes around the time you have will be used most effectivly!

    Oh yes and an allotment is meant to be fun
    Geordie

    Te audire non possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure



  3. #3
    uncledoggie is offline Germinator
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    Oct 2005
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    Birmingham, West Midlands
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    3

    Default Waterlogged and Frozen

    I read your reply and it help put my mind at ease. My plot was a muddy mess also for three weeks past and I started to loose hope but managed to get down some black plastic to kill of the weeds and that was it, so now it's a waiting game. I have gotten catalogs and am now dreaming of what i could grow. I won't give up!!

  4. #4
    WiZeR is offline Tuber
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    Oct 2005
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    NW Kent
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    Default

    thanks geordie. I am also just about to embark on my first allotment and your advice is well recieved!

  5. #5
    NOG's Avatar
    NOG
    NOG is offline Early Fruiter
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    Dec 2005
    Location
    Surrey
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    Default

    I set acheavable goals for every visit. Meet those then go home or have a break then set another goal. This time of year on a new plot (if allowed) have a load of bonefires. Light one then when it is well alight drag it over the plot to burn the brambles and grass. Then leave it till the spring.

  6. #6
    andrewo's Avatar
    andrewo is offline Cropper
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    Lancashire
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    Default Break it up

    I tended to break my allotment up into small beds 4' x 10' that I never walked on. It meant I could work small sections of the allotment and cover the rest with plastic or thick layers of manure. It also proved easier when harvesting, and meant I could start some beds off later. It also gave me a sense of achievement to concentrate on small parts of the plot and get them right.

    Andrewo

  7. #7
    Jaxom's Avatar
    Jaxom is offline Cropper
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    Sep 2005
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    Cardiff South Wales
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    Default

    andrewo,
    How many beds do you have now?

  8. #8
    andrewo's Avatar
    andrewo is offline Cropper
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    Lancashire
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    Default Beds

    I ended up with around 20 beds. But trust me, it was worth it, I got between 5-10 running in the first year. Only problem is that you have to remember the crop rotation. I find it easier to do small spaces because I have spinal probs so it made it easier and less frustrating for me.

    Also, when it came to bug problems, because all my veg varieties weren't grouped together I could have a major outbreak of black fly on one lot of broad beans but on the otherside of the allotment - nothing.

    I like companion planting, and it allowed me spaces to practice this in.

    I reckon the next piece of ground I'll cultivate will have around 30 beds of varying heights, so I can look at doing hot beds (of various widths - I grow at home now in four beds, two that 10' x 2' and two that are 8 x 18", and then bins and pots - small space but have raised the beds).

    I've done the big growing lines of veg and prefer this system.

    Andrewo

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