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  • #46
    Hooray for a new allotment! (even if I am slightly late to the party...)
    Re Water - can you put a gutter up on your shed and use a waterbut? How far is it from your house to the plot? water is rather heavy. You can get flexible plastic containers that fit in wheelbarrows, which would seem the least-difficult way of moving water there.

    In terms of clearance, is there anywhere you can hire/borrow a big strimmer/brush cutter from? It'll be easier to use a heavy-duty thing to get it all down first, but there would be no point in owning one over time.

    I took over my first half-plot in winter and hacked as much as I could down by hand. Now I've taken over the rest of the plot, I'm taking it more slowly.

    If you want to get *something* in, I recommend spuds, as they will grow with pretty limited soil preparation.

    The thing I would do now is get in the mesh tunnel and evict any nasties before they can get established (tidy it, pull out dead vegetation etc and consider a chemical spray).

    Hope it all goes well for you! the one piece of advice I would give is to remember it's a marathon, not a sprint. Do what you can when you can and don't think you've "failed" if you haven't achieved xyz by the end of the year. It will still be there next year.

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    • #47
      Hi Penellype! Hope things go well at the allotment today. Have to say I'm excited to hear what your site is like once you get the chance to have a look.

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      • #48
        So, I booked an appointment at 10.30, went through all the paperwork and signed the agreement and got the key by 11am. The man said that the plot is quite wet and the mesh tunnel had been made to try and keep some of the rain off. There has also been some recent drainage work done on the plot.

        As soon as I got out of the office it helpfully started to rain. I took the car home, dressed from head to foot in waterproofs and set off to see what I had got. I wasn't planning on doing much, just have a look around and maybe a measure up and take a few photos.

        The plot is 132sq m (about 1420 sq ft) according to the paperwork. I'd estimated it as a 30ft square, which is 900 sq ft so I've got quite a lot more than I thought. It was too wet for messing about with a tape measure so that will have to wait.

        There is some useful stuff lying about, including a digging fork, a wheelbarrow, watering can, bits of wood, canes, a small bench, a chair and various bits of metal and plastic mesh. The shed appears watertight and has a floor made of rough bits of wood. It was supposed to be empty but contains a small bookcase with various oddments on it. There is currently no lock on the door so I need to get a padlock before I put the mower or any decent tools in there. There are 2 homemade gutters on the shed, one of which fills the water butt visible in the earlier photos and one fills a large blue barrel. Both are full of water.

        As I suspected there is a long row of raspberry canes, which look like autumn fruiting raspberries as I can't see any new canes without the remains of fruit on them. There is a row of strawberries and 3 rhubarb plants. Apart from a few cabbages, a load of what look like shallots in the tunnel and what are clearly some flowers, the rest seems to be weeds and grass.

        I took some photos from the south end of the plot:

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        The raspberries run along the line of the white edging on the right of this photo. The rhubarb is next to the green compost bin with the strawberries this side of it. This is the sunny end of the plot so I may not leave these there, but they can stay there for now.

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        This is the rough area to the other side of the tunnel. The whole of the area between the tunnel and the line of posts is covered with various sorts of mesh, which might be useful to construct compost bins or something.
        A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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        • #49
          Congratulations!! Looks OK from here! How exciting.
          Is that a gate at the far end?

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          • #50
            Having had a look around I then wanted to investigate the mesh tunnel. It was somewhat weedy:

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            Most of the taller stuff is willowherb. I decided to pull some out to see how hard it was, and it was really quite easy. I'd soon got half way down the tunnel:

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            and by mid day I'd got rid of most of the taller stuff and dug out a few large dandelions:

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            There is quite a bit of couch grass and loads of horsetail, plus a few woody things that could be hawthorn seedlings that need digging out, but the ground is reasonably soft and easy to dig. I feel inclined to cover the whole thing with weed suppressant for a while, once I have removed the remaining large weeds and the shallots.

            By this time I was thoroughly wet and decided to come home for lunch. It looks like the worst of the rain is nearly over so I may well go back this afternoon and do a bit more. It is light work.
            A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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            • #51
              Originally posted by veggiechicken View Post
              Congratulations!! Looks OK from here! How exciting.
              Is that a gate at the far end?
              Thanks VC, very excited here

              No, its not a gate, its a bit of fence and mesh covering a hole in the hedge. The gate is just off the photo to the right of the bus stop.
              A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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              • #52
                Looks marvellous, Penellype. The soil looks good. And by the sound of it, it might not be too much work to get it into shape for spring. Congratulations.
                Living in north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Penellype View Post
                  By this time I was thoroughly wet and decided to come home for lunch.
                  Very good, down to the digging now!
                  Have you not got your shed sorted so you can pop in for a brew and stick your tongue out at the rain?
                  Jimmy
                  Expect the worst in life and you will probably have under estimated!

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Jimmy View Post
                    Very good, down to the digging now!
                    Have you not got your shed sorted so you can pop in for a brew and stick your tongue out at the rain?
                    Jimmy
                    No, not yet - I'd only had the thing an hour! There comes a point when you are cold and wet and hungry, when really only going home for a change of clothes, a meal and a cup of coffee will do.
                    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Penellype View Post
                      No, not yet - I'd only had the thing an hour! There comes a point when you are cold and wet and hungry, when really only going home for a change of clothes, a meal and a cup of coffee will do.
                      Your shed should be your home from home.
                      See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1Ux0QTpSs0
                      Jimmy
                      Expect the worst in life and you will probably have under estimated!

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                      • #56
                        oooh! you have gutters! I'd imagine you'll be able to do a lot of watering without running them out. Especially if you can keep your eye out for more waterbuts (at the house I have 120 and a 240l butt, and even keeping a bit back for the pond, I never run out)

                        "...and loads of horsetail" - I don't think it comes in any other quantity... do you have access to light-proof matting? if you do, it would be worth covering areas to keep that down. I've got that at my allotment. To avoid it going back to my garden, I am very careful to clean tools and not cross-contaminate.

                        anyway - hooray for getting in there and digging!

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                        • #57
                          "I feel inclined to cover the whole thing with weed suppressant for a while" - sorry, missed that bit.

                          with horsetail, I find the ******* stuff can grow through the lighter mesh stuff. I've had better results with black polythene sheet (covered with eg woodchip where possible to lessen UV degradation)

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                          • #58
                            I'm aware that with the exception of Japanese Knotweed (thankfully absent in this area), horsetail is just about the most difficult weed to eradicate. I don't think I have a prayer as all the plots are covered in it. I'm going to try various things, but I won't get too upset if I can't get rid of the horsetail - I haven't managed to at my friend's.
                            A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Penellype View Post
                              No, not yet - I'd only had the thing an hour! There comes a point when you are cold and wet and hungry, when really only going home for a change of clothes, a meal and a cup of coffee will do.
                              Not the best weather but you must feel better for making a start it does look a good sized plot and fairly tidy as well.

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                              • #60
                                Went back down to the plot this afternoon when the rain turned to drizzle. Had a go at digging a section of the tunnel with the fork - it was very hard work as that end is full of couch grass roots as well as the horsetail. I've done enough to make a comparison between dug and undug, and I think I will now cover it and see what happens. I have some heavy duty weed suppressant which I got as a BOGOF when I bought some to use on the paths at my friend's.

                                I dug out the tree seedlings (probably hawthorn) and now have about half the area cleared, the other half contains shallots and a large pile of weeds. I need to sort out somewhere to put the weeds, so the next job will be to clear an area outside for a compost bin, as I don't much care for those plastic things. The black one is half full of mostly rotted stuff and I can't lift the thing off the compost, so that's going to be a puzzle to solve. The green one is much less full and seems to contain mainly tea bags and eggshells.

                                Found a bag of large cable ties similar to the ones that have been used to make the tunnel. There is a join in the mesh lengthways and one part was hanging down inside the tunnel with the potential to be really annoying, so I fastened it up out of the way.

                                Also cleared up a few bits of plastic bags that were lying around and put them in the litter bin next to the bus stop (very convenient!).
                                A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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