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New overgrown allotment - winter preparation

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  • New overgrown allotment - winter preparation

    Hi everyone!
    I am just about to embark on my first ever allotment project. I'm very excited but a little apprehensive as the plot is pretty big and overgrown... I don't have any photos yet as I'm waiting for final confirmation from the council but the plot is about 14m x 4m and is mainly overgrown with grass (from what I could tell). I will mostly be working it by myself but my partner has said that he will help out with the initial hard grafting.

    I've been reading lots about no dig, covering the plot, etc which all sound great. I don't think I will be able to get hold of any large quantities of manure as it looks like the allotment already had a delivery recently. So I was thinking of the following approach, and would appreciate any feedback or improvements on it (especially given it's winter and a pretty big plot).

    1. Strim all the grass as closely as possible to the earth
    2. Cover the plot with cardboard (all of it or leave a small part to start working?)
    3. Cover the cardboard with black plastic (as above)
    4. Wait....?
    5. Try and get hold of manure and add as and when

    Does this sound right? I would like to start growing a few things ASAP, even if just a few potatoes and onions, but is that unrealistic?

    Thank you so much!

  • #2
    Hi and welcome to the Vine.
    A couple of thoughts for you:

    Don't strim until you know what's growing there. Have a good look at the plot first, looking for rhubarb, fruit bushes, herbs, maybe the remains of veg. Long grass can cover a multitude of useful things - laid out beds, paths, compost heaps.........

    You don't need to cover cardboard with plastic, just weight down the cardboard with something heavy - like rocks, wood, buckets of water.

    Clear a small area, buy some onion sets and stick'em in now. You can watch them grow while you clear the rest of the plot.

    Above all, enjoy it.

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    • #3
      Hi and welcome.

      As VC says, no need for the plastic, but I would strim and cover now. Any ‘hard’ paths already laid will be evident once you strim

      Above all enjoy it

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      • #4
        Hi Yogi. Congratulations on getting your allotment and welcome to the vine

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        • #5
          Hi Yogi, welcome to the vine and congratulations on your allotment. Good advice there from the experts already. From me I would add get some January king or similar winter cabbage plants and get that in, when it’s grown pulling it helps break up the soil, and the roots can be shredded and added to your composter.

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          • #6
            BTW Yogi you won’t be able to post photos until you have about 20 posts made.

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            • #7
              Welcome Yogi, and good luck with your new allotment!
              All at once I hear your voice
              And time just slips away
              Bonnie Raitt

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              • #8
                Hi. Good luck. If you have got enough enthusiasm and energy you will succeed. Yes I agree. First job find out what you've got and decide if you want to keep it. If you have got either bindweed or couch grass you really need to get rid of it somehow. We took years to totally (nearly) get rid of ours as I refused to use poisons ( herbicide) with the theory that if you use poison you might as well buy supermarket vegetables and fruit.

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                • #9
                  You seem to me to have it licked. Forget about manure as your plot already has loads of organic matter already on it. As you say, I would strim it and if you can cover it with cardboard or newspaper, that would be good?. If you don't mind digging you could dig a bit and plant a bit ad infinitum. You could also cut holes and plant through the cardboard for individual brassica plants.

                  Good luck and we look forward to before and after photographs.
                  My Majesty made for him a garden anew in order
                  to present to him vegetables and all beautiful flowers.- Offerings of Thutmose III to Amon-Ra (1500 BCE)

                  Diversify & prosper


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                  • #10
                    Thanks everyone! I haven't made any progress yet because I have been waiting for the weather to improve. Now we have a few dry days ahead I plan to get out there with the strimmer. Once I've cut down all of the grass and brambles, should I move it all into a big heap or is it OK to just leave it where it falls and put the cardboard over it? The brambles will definitely need something done to them as there are a lot.

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                    • #11
                      Just to add my best wishes!

                      Cover everything now (unless a good look round reveals stuff, then compost and plant).

                      One thing (and the regualars will groan), start a compost heap now - grass clippings, uncooked kitchen veg waste etc - never too early to start that

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