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Thread: Overwhelmed Allotment Newbie

  1. #1
    Wilko411 is offline Germinator
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Norwich
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    Default Overwhelmed Allotment Newbie

    Hello everyone….a little about our plot (sorry it is a bit long winded)
    Yes you have guessed it, I am a newbie to the world of Allotment Ownership…. I have for the past 3yrs grown a few bits at home (Pots/Courgettes/Beans/Chard/Spinach/Kale/Beets/Toms) but wanted the garden back as I love flowers. It is not very big so I managed to squeeze things into a couple of raised beds plus salad bits in a VegTrug.
    We acquired our 1/2 plot at the end of July, the original owner had the full plot but at the ripe old age of 93 handed it back to the Council and it is now the 2 plots. We have met lots of lovely people and we are told that Bill used to have everything and there was never a weed in sight (unlike now).
    Best for me not to comment on our adjoining plot, it was taken over after Bill and it’s an eyesore. Ours was taken over by a family who apparently rotavated (NOOOOOOO) then left it!!! So when we got the keys, the grass was knee high, rubbish everywhere…………a complete mess. Apparently saddened to see it such a mess so fingers crossed we can change that.
    So we have cleared the rubbish, started 2 compost heaps, strimmed everywhere, mapped out the beds and got digging. The plot has some established rhubarb, asparagus and autumn raspberries.
    We have 2 large beds that we have dug over (horrendous bindweed) even though we are trying to adopt the no-dig approach. Covered the larger bed in horse manure and heavy-duty black polythene; ready for next year, hoping 7mths should do it good. The idea is to divide these 2 large beds into 5 for crop rotation. Don’t intend on having raising beds or borders … unless anyone suggests otherwise. Poly tunnel being erected in a couple of weeks.
    I know it is probably too late to put anything in the non-covered bed, although had considered onions/garlic but read so many conflicting views on sets v seeds???
    Really looking forward to next year so I can get seed sowing however I am feeling quite overwhelmed by it all. Got all these ideas of what I want to grow but just a tad anxious….silly I know.
    So to anyone who manages to either a) gets to the end of the lengthy post without falling asleep or b) replies; I thank you very much!
    Look forward to hopefully sharing some experiences with you all.
    Vanessa (proud owner of 8b)

  2. #2
    bikermike is offline Cropper
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    Nov 2017
    Location
    North London frontier
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    Default

    Welcome to the vine!

    First thing - don't panic!
    Second thing - don't try to more than you can manage.
    Third thing - never mind Bill.

    I would get a petrol-powered brush cutter and take ot all down (checking there are no plants you want to keep).

    Pick an area you can get into and weed it out. I do no dig, so my next move would be a layer of cardboard and compost on top. But other methods are available.

    I'd then cover the rest with plastic and cover that with woodchip. And worry about that in the future.
    muckdiva, Wilko411 and Can the Man like this.

  3. #3
    Baldy's Avatar
    Baldy is offline Early Fruiter
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    Apr 2016
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    Default

    Welome along. Mostly agree with Mike's comments.
    Its a marathon not a sprint so clear a bit however you choose (I'm a mostly no-digger) and plant or sow summat there to keep the enthusiasm up. Clear whatever else you can without overdoing it and then cover the rest.
    To be honest you sound like you've got a good plan and have realistic expectations so I reckon you'll do fine!
    Wilko411 and Can the Man like this.

    1574 gin and tonics please Monica, large ones.

  4. #4
    Logunner is offline Rooter
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    Aug 2018
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    Newton le Willows
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    Hi and welcome...

    It’s a marathon not a sprint is a good way of viewing things on an abandoned plot. Cardboard and newspapers are a good way of covering weeds, and the soil will benefit from it.
    Wilko411 and Can the Man like this.

  5. #5
    Bluenowhere is offline Rooter
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    Feb 2018
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    Kent
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    Good luck.
    I’m sure you will do fine, and never mind the old guard and how bill used to do things.

    We work full time and thus lower maintenance paths - weed membrane covered in wood chip. Six smaller beds for crop rotation, a fruit cage and two polytunnels suits what we like to eat.

    Concentrate on clear, dig out perennial weeds and cover for winter so you are all ready for spring.
    Wilko411 and Can the Man like this.

  6. #6
    SarrissUK's Avatar
    SarrissUK is offline Early Fruiter
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    Aug 2011
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    Default

    I work full time and I have two full sized plots. They're not in perfect nick by any stretch of the imagination (however hard I try!!), but I have lots of growing space and it's fairly low maintenance. Search for Charles Dowding on youtube and you'll learn about his no-dig techniques, which is what I do.
    It's marvellous - I have one huge bed that is ten foot wide, and about 75 foot long, so nearly the full length of the plot, and it takes about half an hour every week to weed it the first four fives months after laying down the cardboard and chucking on the horse manure/compost, and now after seven months, it is half an hour every three weeks or so, that's all that's needed.
    Good luck with it all

  7. #7
    Wilko411 is offline Germinator
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    Norwich
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    Wow... thanks everyone who’s taken the time to read & reply.

    I will take your comments on board! Marathon not a sprint...love it! 👍🏻

  8. #8
    Chestnut is offline Cropper
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    Default

    I also found it a bit daunting at first, until I learned to switch off my work mindset (99.9% is not good enough) and concentrate on what I wanted from the plot and judge what I have achieved on those terms (a few hours fresh air and exercise today, a barrowful of weeds dug up, a bed finished, all veg for tonights dinner are homegrown etc).
    Every plot holder will have their own views on what a ‘perfect plot’ should be, but that doesn’t mean that old Bill’s way is the only way. It’s your plot, so you get to choose how you want your plot to be;-)

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