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  • New Allotment question

    Hi all

    I have just been offered and accepted my first allotment, which is fantastic. Its a brand new plot which is currently all grass, so i have a bit of digging to do! I'm wondering what i should do with the grass. Should i dig the grass in (quite deep) for it to rot underground, or leave it in a heap to compost?

    Any reccomendations would be very much appreciated.


  • #2
    Many congrats!!!

    I'd take off the top1 1/2 ins of grass/weeds and root and stack them at one sideof the lottie upsidedown until next year.
    It'd be easier to plan (raised) beds first, then you don't need to dig the whole lot.

    By doing this, you'll get rid of some of the weeds in the topsoil- and life will be easier for you in years to come.
    Don't be tempted to dig it in or rotovate- you'll really regret it in the future

    We're just converting part of our field into more beds- and this is what we're doing!
    When you dig over the beds, you can incorporate compost at the same time, although the first year doen't tend to need any more nutrients if it's been a grassed area for a long time.
    "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

    Location....Normandy France


    • #3
      Hi Nicos

      Thanks for your advise!

      Are raised beds better than digging into the soil? i dont mind digging it up as its not a huge area, but if raised beds are the way to go then I obviously want to get it right first time round. With raised beds are we talking about bags of top soil and compost that you can buy from garden centers?

      Thanks for the tip about not having to worry about adding nutrients in the first year because of the grass - thats very useful to know!


      • #4
        Hi 2e1fmo,
        Do watch out for wireworms on land recently cleared of grass; they are a devil at boring holes into root crops - potatoes and carrots especially. The problem should disappear within a year or so. One remedy is to bury old potatos to trap the pest (mark their position with a stick), dig them up occasionally and replace!
        Really great gardens seem to teeter on the edge of anarchy yet have a balance and poise that seem inevitable. Monty Don in Gardening Mad


        • #5
          I had grass covering my beds when I got my plot and we stripped it off and placed it in a pile and covered it, that was 3 years ago and we have just used the now topsoil to fill two raised beds, it was great soil and will hopefully make my beds nice and comfy for all my lovely veg this year


          • #6
            Take off the green grassy bits, but you'll be left with the roots in the soil: and it will be couch grass (white brittle strands).
            New weeds will grow from every bit of root left in the soil, so it must all come out I'm afraid.
            All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.


            • #7
              Originally posted by 2e1fmo View Post
              Are raised beds better than digging into the soil?
              No, not unless your soil is poor, or if you have a bad back and can't bend so far. If it's an allotment, your soil won't be poor.

              One advantage of raised beds is that you don't walk on them, so the soil doesn't get compacted (aka no-dig system). You can have permanent beds that you don't walk on, without building a raised one.
              All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.


              • #8
                Raised beds can just be mounds of earth above the level of the paths. You can choose to board the edges if you wish.
                If you take the top layer of turf off, the soil level will be below the level of the paths, but that's not a problem.
                If you decide to make raised beds then you'll need to dig in a lot of compost etc
                We're going to raise ours slowly. The turfs we cut last spring are looking quite well rotted now, so we'll dig that into the beds with some compost and muck( not in the carrot/parsnip bed though as they'll fork). That should raise the beds to slightly above the height of the paths. I've known of peeps dump topsoil on top of grassed areas and contain it within edging, but then you're likely to get weeds coming up from below ( eg scutch grass or bindweed.)
                I'd play around a bit this coming year just to get to know the area. Plan your soft fruit bushes/plants and create a few beds thoroughly.
                It's very exciting isn't it????
                "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

                Location....Normandy France


                • #9
                  Your right Nicos - it is exciting! even the planning stage

                  I will cut the top layer of and store for next years compost, then do a good bit of digging and removing remaining roots etc.

                  I can't really afford the cost of creating raised beds at this time, so think i will build this up over time.

                  Thank you everybody for your advise.


                  • #10
                    raised beds needn't be expensive,you can just pile the soil into mounds and edge them later if you wish.
                    this also leaves you the option to reshuffle the beds when you have decided you have it laid out the way you want it.
                    don't be afraid to innovate and try new things
                    remember.........only the dead fish go with the flow

                    Another certified member of the Nutters club


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