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Thread: New allotment!

  1. #1
    MissPea is offline Seedling
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    Default New allotment!

    So I have an allotment as of today! I am so excited (and scared) to begin.
    Any advice for starting out?
    Also I have a plot that had a pidgeon building/coop thing (canít remember the name) and it seems to be slightly lower down. There no manure this year for the allotment unfortunately so does anyone know a cost saving way to try build it up slightly ? Also will the building have taken the nutrients or will it be ok? I plan on green manure over winter and the no dig method (feel itís best being a puny 5í2) this is the plot...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails New allotment!-44b3a1f2-5b05-4ce4-8581-dd724e6244d9.jpg  
    Jay-ell, Chestnut and muck lover like this.

  2. #2
    Chestnut is offline Tuber
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    That looks like a lovely spot!
    I have seen a chicken coop have it’s netting run removed and sides boarded up to make a shed- if you don’t mind a bit of woodwork?
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  3. #3
    Bluenowhere is offline Sprouter
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    Iím 5í2 as well, think Iíve found muscles I never knew I had with my allotment over the last year and half!

    Where the building was the soil may well be compacted if someone was walking over it a lot or there was a solid floor on it. I know you are planning no dig but Iíd be tempted to dig it over to loosen the soil a bit at least in that area, you might find that increases the soil level a bit once you get some air in.

    Manure you could see if any local stables will deliver some to your plot, perhaps even for just petrol money. You could spread it over the whole plot it will rot over the winter and worms will do most of the work for you reducing digging.

    If you use a green manure you will need to dig it in when spring comes. No dig relies on large quantities of compost and manure so is hard when you start out. Also Iíd want to dig over the soil at least once to get any perennial weed roots out but thatís because we have couch grass and horsetail on our plots and Iíve seen what happens to plots where new people tried no dig without getting the roots out first.

    I do a combined approach, dig out perennial encroaching roots, we only took ours last Feb so still working on the couch grass encroaching from paths Iíve not dealt with yet and horsetail, the cover with manure over winter then gently fork in remainder before planting. Next year I will have some of our compost to use as well.

    Either way you need to get the soil covered or you will end up with a weed covered mess on your hands before spring.
    Last edited by Bluenowhere; 03-09-2018 at 09:12 PM. Reason: Autocorrect silliness!
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  4. #4
    ESBkevin is offline Tuber
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    Hello MissPea,

    I'd take the 'cover it' option. Gather as many brown cardboard boxes as you can and lay them/overlap them about the surface. Chuck clods of earth on top to hold it down and then add any compost or green waste you can to that over time. come spring the soil will at least be clean and ready to plant. You might need to fork out the odd perenial weed like dandilion or couch grass etc. but otherwise the effort will be minimal on the digging and maximum of the gathering organic material as and when.
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  5. #5
    Two_Sheds's Avatar
    Two_Sheds is offline Compost Everything...
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    Be aware that horse muck is usually full of weed seeds. If you have it locally and for free, you could use it, but it’s not necessary. More info: http://www.growfruitandveg.co.uk/gra...uck_75789.html

    I’m 5’3”
    Had an allotment for 22 years
    No dig, mostly organic

    I recommend reading Sepp Holzer & the One Straw Revolution, and looking at Charles Dowding online

    You have a lot of bare soil: sow green manures now and they’ll help with fertility, soil structure and weeds. I use Field Beans, Phacelia, Caliente Mustard and Crimson Clover - all shallow rooted and easy to pull up when you need the ground.
    Last edited by Two_Sheds; 04-09-2018 at 11:18 AM. Reason: GMs
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    All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.

  6. #6
    MissPea is offline Seedling
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chestnut View Post
    That looks like a lovely spot!
    I have seen a chicken coop have itís netting run removed and sides boarded up to make a shed- if you donít mind a bit of woodwork?
    thanks all,

    I don't think I would mind a bit of woodwork, but not sure where I'd even get a chicken coop lol I'm planning on getting some pallets for compost first anyway and obviously getting ready for planting next year, they mentioned I could borrow tools if need be, but my family are asking around if anyone has any spare that I could have.
    @two_sheds, I have had a look at Charles Dowding, and it really appeals to me, the green Manure, Ive read it can be chopped before flowering and left as a ground cover, is this right? I;m tempted to buy soil but worried it'll need quite a lot, and cost alot, so not sure if i should buy some every so often or just plant the green manure and hope for the best.

    it looks like there is some couch grass, so a little dig out is required but reading Charles Dowding, he said its best not to disturb the soil as much as possible, does that apply to the compacted soil too?
    I have ordered Phacelia and crimson clover, so do i leave these till spring or cut them after a few weeks

    Sorry for all the questions,


  7. #7
    ESBkevin is offline Tuber
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    Compacted soil will open up if treated to a thick mulch. the theory is that worms etc. together with the decaying roots of last years crop create airways into the soil. The air is critical to the survival of the 'soil food web'. By adding organic mulch you will build soil right there without having to dig or import any.
    Typically three years of decent mulching will provide a healthy depth of soft frieble soil that is well balanced in nutrients for growing pretty much anything. In the first year you might choose to dig a small area for root crops like carrots, but Charles Dowding doesn't and his carrots look fantastic in year one.

  8. #8
    bikermike is offline Tuber
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    if it had a pigeon coop on it, won't it likely have been pretty heavily manured with pigeon guano anyway? (either naturally, or shovelled out of the coop)

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