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  • No Dig Beds -

    Hello all, I'm a newbie having taken over my plot mid last year

    I have so far managed to dig and de-root (mostly!) one half. The other half is at the moment more or less undiggable such are the roots - it had loads of bushes on that were very overgrown.

    I was planning to dig this weed-ridden half over without de-rooting it, and separate it into beds which I would then cover with cardboard and a 2 - 3 inch layer of compost.

    Lots of places seem to recommend leaving it for a year for it all to break down, but could I start planting in it this year?

    If so, any recommendations of plants that would do well would also be appreciated!

    My plan was then to plant this year, and at the end of this season cover it with some well rotted manure and hopefully dig it properly or go again with a no-dig next year too

    Any thoughts on planting this year?

  • #2
    Cover with cardboard and plant lots of squash /Courgettes? Just dig a pocket for each plant. Stick an upturned milk bottle and a stick in at the same time so you know where to water.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Scarlet View Post
      Cover with cardboard and plant lots of squash /Courgettes? Just dig a pocket for each plant. Stick an upturned milk bottle and a stick in at the same time so you know where to water.
      Thanks - so you would put the compost down first, directly onto the ground, then the cardboard (and weigh it down) and then plant through the cardboard?

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      • #4
        Cardboard then compost. I use a bulb planter to make the holes for planting.

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        • #5
          My dad used to deal with any new plot, such as you mention, by planting spuds. They do a good job of breaking down and then opening up the soil ... *and* you get spuds
          aka
          Suzie

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          • #6
            now look, (remember when Tony Blair started to talk about something and started like that?) We are only mid February and there is easily 6 weeks yet before you need to start thinking about planting so here's the deal.

            Divide the remaining half into 6 equal(lish) sized beds and then tackle one per week. Use a pinch bar or a pick axe to extract any stumps/roots and dig or fork over as you go and then cover with cardboard/compost. It is hard work but doing it over 6 weeks falls into the little and often category which should be easily achievable. Go on, you know you want to
            Last edited by Aberdeenplotter; 14-02-2020, 08:52 PM.

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            • #7
              I would definitely take the no dig route, after digging up the stumps, if you have any above ground.

              Cardboard can be had in copious amounts in farm shops and supermarkets. Top it off with compost, either from rotted horse/cow manure or your council's 'soil improvers'.

              We'd love to see pictures too, from the start You only need to post a few more times and you'll be able to upload pics
              https://nodigadventures.blogspot.com/

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              • #8
                Originally posted by nrmartin8798 View Post
                Lots of places seem to recommend leaving it for a year for it all to break down, but could I start planting in it this year?
                It does seem a shame to leave your beds for a whole year I don't think that would go down well with the allotment committee from what I've read here on the vine about having a productive plot.
                Best follow the advice here instead.

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                • #9
                  Hello, I would likely do a mix of what Scarlet and Piskie suggest. Potatoes and courgettes/squash.

                  I've got a patch full of couch grass that I had been hoping to clear this winter but it's not likely to happen now. When I come to plant potatoes there, I'll dig it over just before planting the seed in about 4 to 6" deep so hopefully they will be up before the grass. Then 1 early hoeing and one earthing up should keep the weeds down enough. Then (maybe) I'll get the roots out when I harvest the potatoes when the soil is a lot drier.

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                  • #10
                    You would only have to leave it for a year... or maybe less, if it's fresh manure. If it's well rotted, there's no need to leave it. I set up a whole plot with no dig beds that way last year and everything grew well (apart from squash that didn't grow well anywhere!)
                    https://nodigadventures.blogspot.com/

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by piskieinboots View Post
                      My dad used to deal with any new plot, such as you mention, by planting spuds. They do a good job of breaking down and then opening up the soil ... *and* you get spuds
                      Thanks - that sounds like a good idea, I may do that

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Aberdeenplotter View Post
                        now look, (remember when Tony Blair started to talk about something and started like that?) We are only mid February and there is easily 6 weeks yet before you need to start thinking about planting so here's the deal.

                        Divide the remaining half into 6 equal(lish) sized beds and then tackle one per week. Use a pinch bar or a pick axe to extract any stumps/roots and dig or fork over as you go and then cover with cardboard/compost. It is hard work but doing it over 6 weeks falls into the little and often category which should be easily achievable. Go on, you know you want to
                        That's true I guess - there is still a reasonable amount of time. Thanks for the point about digging it over, I wasnt sure whether too or not, but think i will now and get the worst out at least

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SarrissUK View Post
                          I would definitely take the no dig route, after digging up the stumps, if you have any above ground.

                          Cardboard can be had in copious amounts in farm shops and supermarkets. Top it off with compost, either from rotted horse/cow manure or your council's 'soil improvers'.

                          We'd love to see pictures too, from the start You only need to post a few more times and you'll be able to upload pics
                          Yep, all the stumps are gone now, just the weeds and roots to deal with! We have heaps of cardboard at my workplace so will nab some of that! I can get out local allotment counciller to deliver some manure - handily he works on a farm! - but I thought that it wasnt ideal to plant straight into it? I have looked at getting some compost but it soon adds up in price..!!!

                          The plot has changed quite a bit!!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bren In Pots View Post
                            It does seem a shame to leave your beds for a whole year I don't think that would go down well with the allotment committee from what I've read here on the vine about having a productive plot.
                            Best follow the advice here instead.
                            Yes exactly, it seems like a waste of space to me! As well as that, our allotments are privately owned, and have a condition on that says they can take back the land if less than 75% of it is uncultivated! Which is another reason I am keen to do my bit as there are a couple of abandoned plots

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mark_Riga View Post
                              Hello, I would likely do a mix of what Scarlet and Piskie suggest. Potatoes and courgettes/squash.

                              I've got a patch full of couch grass that I had been hoping to clear this winter but it's not likely to happen now. When I come to plant potatoes there, I'll dig it over just before planting the seed in about 4 to 6" deep so hopefully they will be up before the grass. Then 1 early hoeing and one earthing up should keep the weeds down enough. Then (maybe) I'll get the roots out when I harvest the potatoes when the soil is a lot drier.
                              I do feel inclined to do what you suggest, as a newbie it'll at least know what works and doesn't in that aspect. I guess i'll split it into a few beds and try something on each, as somewhere I looked up suggested cardboard, compost and then polythene on top then plant through the polythene - I suppose this is best for squashes, courgettes etc as they grow on the ground

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