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  • Complete newbie looking for advice

    Hi all
    My name is Jason and I am new here.
    Today I took on my first allotment and I am excited to get started. I know that this time of year is about preparing for next year but I need as much help as possible.
    The plot is a good size and it has a few raspberry plants and two plum trees at the bottom. Other than that it looks very run down. My question is where do I start? Do I need to dig everything up and turn the soil over? The ground is very hard at the moment.
    There is what looks like a grape vine surrounding the shed. Does this need to be tamed or will it always run wild?
    Absolutely any help would be appreciated, this is going to be a fantastic hobby for my family. I have young children that love gardening.
    This year I managed a huge haul of tomatoes in my garden along with strawberries and black currants.
    Thanks for any help.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Hi Jason and welcome to the vine.

    Congratulations on getting an allotment. Where abouts are you - this can help with the advice you get.

    Try and get as much cardboard as you can - that can be laid down on areas to suppress weeds.
    I think the grape vine will need training - there's plenty of videos on you tube about vine pruning.

    Digging it over will let you get the perennial weed roots out (e.g. nettle, bindweed, marestail) but if you Google "no dig gardening" and can get hold of a lot of manure or compost that's another way that you can go - especially if the weeds aren't too aggressive.

    Are your raspberries Autumn Fruiting (should have ripe fruit on now) or summer fruiting (may show signs of fruiting earliest in the year, e.g. dried up fruit, flowers, etc) - the different types are pruned differently (although if pruned wrong usually the worst thing that can happen is you skip a years fruit)

    It looks like its on a bit of a slope, if so you may be able to use the slope to get some protection from frost (cold air runs downhill)

    New all singing all dancing blog - Jasons Jungle

    ”I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb."
    ― Thomas A. Edison

    “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
    ― Thomas A. Edison

    - I must be a Nutter,VC says so -

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Jay-ell View Post
      Hi Jason and welcome to the vine.

      Congratulations on getting an allotment. Where abouts are you - this can help with the advice you get.

      Try and get as much cardboard as you can - that can be laid down on areas to suppress weeds.
      I think the grape vine will need training - there's plenty of videos on you tube about vine pruning.

      Digging it over will let you get the perennial weed roots out (e.g. nettle, bindweed, marestail) but if you Google "no dig gardening" and can get hold of a lot of manure or compost that's another way that you can go - especially if the weeds aren't too aggressive.

      Are your raspberries Autumn Fruiting (should have ripe fruit on now) or summer fruiting (may show signs of fruiting earliest in the year, e.g. dried up fruit, flowers, etc) - the different types are pruned differently (although if pruned wrong usually the worst thing that can happen is you skip a years fruit)

      It looks like its on a bit of a slope, if so you may be able to use the slope to get some protection from frost (cold air runs downhill)
      Thanks for the reply.
      The raspberries have some red fruit on them as well as a lot of dried up black fruit so not sure?
      What do you mean about using e slope for protection? I am completely new to this so I apologise for too many questions.

      Comment


      • #4
        Cold air sinks, frost is when the air cool to a point when the moisture in it freezes. As you are on a slope the cool air will naturally want to sink down to the bottom of the slope as long as you let it (i.e. not building walls across). If you have raised beds you can make sure that there's paths going down the slope to ensure the cold air can keep moving

        P.S. Keep asking the questions no need to apologise
        Last edited by Jay-ell; 09-10-2016, 04:07 PM. Reason: ps

        New all singing all dancing blog - Jasons Jungle

        ”I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb."
        ― Thomas A. Edison

        “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
        ― Thomas A. Edison

        - I must be a Nutter,VC says so -

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi there, and welcome to the Vine from me too
          The more questions the better...don't be shy
          We all like to help out where we can
          "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

          Location....Normandy France

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi your plot looks great! I'm a complete novice myself, just had my first season with half a plot. I don't have any advice I'm afraid except - I got so much wrong and got a bit disheartened, so go easy on yourself if you don't get excellent results immediately! I'm hoping next year I will do a bit better - I'm on the cardboard and seaweed plan for the winter. Good luck!

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi and welcome to the vine Grats on your new plot.

              In regards to where to start I suggest making a cuppa and having a mooch round the forum, snout at other allotments, ask as many questions as you can, watch youtube vids, read magazines and books etc. All to give you ideas.

              Then put pen to paper and be realistic.

              How much time and money you can spare will make a big difference? If you are short of time then use lots of mulches (grass clippings, card, newspaper, chippings, manure etc)
              Do you see yourself as a traditional row person or a bed/block planting person?
              Would you rather do it all at once or prefer something growing whilst you expand? Do you see clearing and cultivating the whole plot a weeks thing or months? If the later smother weeds to make digging easier. When digging have your back to the work that needs doing. Take it a little at a time
              Do you want a play area for your children?
              Look at skips, industrial estates, freecycle for stuff you could make use of.

              There is loads more but that should give you a start

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks everyone.
                I had a good few hours at my plot today. Managed to cut back a lot of raspberry plants that had taken over the entire top of the area.
                I have mapped out one area and have started to dig and turn over the soil. It's actually very soft soil once you break down the top layer. I am having a path all the way down the side and intermittently across with beds divided down the length of the plot. As I was digging I found a few carrots, potatoes etc in the ground,
                I also found a wilted looking squash plant which had one small squash growing on it. Is this likely to need digging up or do you think it could be revived?
                As for the carrots and potatoes, after taking them out of the ground, are there going to be hidden roots for more of these or am I now clear?
                Final thing. I have a row of red leaved plants . I have no idea what they are.
                Any ideas? ( probably should have taken a picture)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Welcome along.

                  Squash has most likely had it - if its not looking too good now its not likely to get any better. Put it on the compost.
                  I always miss a few spuds when I dig them up - you'll probably find a few regrow next year coing up through a bed you've nicely laid out for strawberrys or something...
                  red leaf lettuce maybe? https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=...pid%3D15.1&f=1

                  Take t steady, don't burn yourself out, little and often... Good luck
                  sigpic
                  1574 gin and tonics please Monica, large ones.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The squash plant will be at the end of the road - any photos of the squash, then come in many different shapes and sizes so the solo squash may be ready. Take a couple of inches of the main stem either side of the stalk and put it on a sunny window sill - unless it looks manky then stick it in the compost.

                    New all singing all dancing blog - Jasons Jungle

                    ”I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb."
                    ― Thomas A. Edison

                    “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
                    ― Thomas A. Edison

                    - I must be a Nutter,VC says so -

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Red leaved plants - could be chard, beetroot, red veined sorrel. If you can get a photo of those we can have a better guess.

                      If there's annuals growing in rows then it seems the plot has been in cultivation this year so that should make your job easier.

                      New all singing all dancing blog - Jasons Jungle

                      ”I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb."
                      ― Thomas A. Edison

                      “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
                      ― Thomas A. Edison

                      - I must be a Nutter,VC says so -

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jay-ell View Post
                        Red leaved plants - could be chard, beetroot, red veined sorrel. If you can get a photo of those we can have a better guess.

                        If there's annuals growing in rows then it seems the plot has been in cultivation this year so that should make your job easier.
                        I'll get a picture next time I'm there. There are about five of them I think plus a freshly planted plant that looks like bay leaves?! The owner of the allotment said someone gave it up two weeks ago and had made a start on it before moving on so I think the top end is going to be much easier. I'll be doing it bit by bit anyway.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CooperMarchant View Post
                          a freshly planted plant that looks like bay leaves?!
                          Blueberry? Or bay?
                          He-Pep!

                          Comment

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