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Thread: New baby and new allotment - what was I thinking?

  1. #1
    jonahjonah's Avatar
    jonahjonah is online now Sprouter
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    Default New baby and new allotment - what was I thinking?

    Hi all,

    We're going to be moving out from our super shaded mini plot in the corner of the allotment site to a nice sunny plot. We have this year's crops in the old site and will try cultivating half of the new plot until October. Then rents are due and I'll probably either take the whole new plot or pack my fruit bushes and perennials and go home.

    Our first plot had head-high weeds, brambles and lots of intractable ornamentals. We learned to weed thoroughly by hand, plant up when possible and cover when not. It's still a mess but everyone on the site seems to agree it's pita plot, so I don't feel too bad...

    Our new plot had been cultivated until this growing season. It has some couch grass growing on the beds, but nothing that looks worse than that. However, I now have a young baby. Along with all the wonderful baby things that entails, it also means limited time at the plot and no chance to use noisy tools like the strimmer.

    My plan is to try to chop down the grass (with garden shears? Any other easy to use, quiet alternatives?) then cover with compost, cardboard and black plastic. I'll weed by hand again when I get that rare hour of time, then keep covered till I can plant something in the cleared area.

    I would have been thrilled to get this plot last year, but am currently feeling worried about it getting into worse shape. Any thoughts on my plan or advice for making the most of limited time without power tools?

    I'll get some photos when I can. It has a lot going for it. I just need to get my head round taking it on.

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    Nicos is offline 'Allo 'Allo !
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    Firstly congratulations on your new baby, and secondly on getting the plot
    Until your baby is mobile I would suggest it's an easy time on the lottie.
    The fresh air will do him/her good and I wouldn't worry too much about making a noise.
    Mine were very young when we took on our first allotment. I recall we had an old playpen we took down there.
    Our son used to make mud sand castles and play with little diggers in the soil when he became mobile.
    They would sleep when they were tired....on a folding lounger..on the small grassed area on a towel ...in the car.
    You just need to keep a close eye on them, and that should be easy if there are two of you.
    Maybe think of fencing it?
    I have lots of happy memories having BBQs with our children...cooked on chicken wire over a few lumps of charcoal, munching strawberries/raspberries picked by the kids for dessert.
    Bit like camping !
    Don't worry...just get on and enjoy your lottie and your family. Children adapt...really
    bramble, Jungle Jane, 1Bee and 2 others like this.
    "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

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    nickdub is online now Early Fruiter
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    Depending on the state of the soil in which they are growing, an old fashioned English hoe may be a better choice than shears for tackling the weeds - worth looking out for one at car-boots and auction sites, as they come in handy for doing a lot of jobs like earthing up potatoes.
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    bikermike is offline Cropper
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    a scythe would be the traditional answer (paired with a cape and an hour glass if you want to scare your neighbours).


    I don't think an electric strimmer is that noisy - are you talking about a petrol one? could you borrow a battery one for now?
    Also, you an get baby ear defenders, could you try them.


    In my experience, the problem was more small mobile toddler and spring - very few seedlings are toddlerproof…

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    Mudsweatandtea is offline Seedling
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    Congratulations first of all I don't know if you have any other children but this is such a lovely but short-lived part of their lives, just absorb as much of it while you can! lol

    that said, regarding noisy tools, the wee one will sleep through/not be bothered by it if it's heard often enough. my three (a single then twins 23 months later) would always be out in the buggy while I mowed, strimmed or hedge trimmed. I would hoover around them when they slept and have the hand blender or food processor going while they were in their moses baskets in the kitchen. it's only tiptoeing around kids when they're sleeping that makes them noise sensitive (imo and experience I will concede). when they were bigger but still not mobile I would use the pram/bouncer/picnic blanket and some toys to keep them amused which would buy me a bit of time to garden, weed etc.

    a whole new plot is a different gig altogether I know, but gardening saved my sanity when they were wee and you need you time too where you can
    There are no gardening mistakes, only learning curves

    No matter how big the job or overwhelming the task, a good dose of sheer obstinacy and bloody-mindedness should see you through

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    jonahjonah is online now Sprouter
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    Thanks, everyone, for your kind words and advice. A lot of votes for 'just get on with it', I think I'm watching the weekend forecast like a hawk as it drifts between mostly cloudy and 90% chance of rain. My partner has a weird work schedule and I'm currently at home with a 4-month-old with her first cold, so I'm dreaming of digging and weed-chopping.

    The strimmer we have access to is a petrol-powered beast. I'm sure that if I liked using it in the first place, I wouldn't be looking so hard for an alternative. Perhaps we'll luck out on a sunny day that we can both get down to the site and one of us can poke around the shady plot with the babe while the other strims with extreme prejudice. I do fancy a quiet, battery-powered one, but maybe that's an item for the wish list.

    I also like the idea of the scythe, but I feel like scything with the baby wrapped to me in yards of fabric would only put me one step away from obligatory naked dancing in the tall grass under our esteemed lunar friend.

    I will look in to baby ear defenders and make best use of the tools currently at my disposal - shears, hoe, strimmer - and hope the baby doesn't inherit my childhood lack of interest in gardening. Any further advice, tales from the trenches, etc gladly received.
    Nicos, Jungle Jane, 1Bee and 1 others like this.

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    Logunner is offline Sprouter
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    Congrats on the little one. Got to agree with others, noise was no issue with daughter and now grandaughter. Obviously not the kind that needs ear protection...

    As for the plot, well that advice would be little and often. Cover the areas not ready with cardboard, it will take months to breakdown and in the meantime it’s controlling the weeds.

    In no time at all the little one will be up and about.... then you need eyes in the back of your head
    jonahjonah and Mudsweatandtea like this.

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    bikermike is offline Cropper
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    Good luck!

    I got my plot about the same time as the sproggle. ("three year waiting list" it said, "perfect, I thought - give the baby time too happen before I do anything". Next day, I had a plot.. three months later, a baby...).

    I think the big thing at first was something for him to crawl about on, and some shade

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