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Thread: Newbie here

  1. #1
    martynt82 is offline Germinator
    Join Date
    Nov 2017

    Default Newbie here

    Hi all,
    I'm new here, so I apologise if this is in the wrong place - haven't been able to navigate round that well as of yet.
    Last year we moved back to the UK and now have a house with a very small garden which was fun growing a few bits of veg this year, so we thought we'd get an allotment (approx 5x6m) to allow us to grow more. That was back at the end of August.
    We cleared the space and planted a few things which seem to be growing okay. The rest of the space however is a mass of weeds, and we received a letter this morning asking us to take care of them.
    I've been doing a bit of reading online about how we can prep it for the spring, but not 100% sure of the best way to go about it. Things I've read include:
    i) Strimming it down and spraying with Glyphosate weed killer then digging over
    ii) covering with plastic sheets / fleece with a water membrane
    iii) dumping manure on the top and digging in the following spring.
    Does anyone have an idea which will work best?
    Many thanks!
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  2. #2
    veggiechicken's Avatar
    veggiechicken is online now Warning, May contain nuts
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    May 2006
    Sunshiny South Wales
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    Hello martyn and welcome to the forum.
    Personally, I wouldn't use weedkiller especially where you are growing food to eat. I'd strim it and cover with large pieces of cardboard, weighted down with bags of compost, leaves, manure, whatever you have. This will kill off the annual weeds and you'll b able to plant through the cardboard in spring.
    If you can clear some now, you could plant garlic, onion sets, broad beans and some peas.
    What sort of weeds are they? If perennial, or with seed heads you may need to remove them before strimming.
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  3. #3
    Cadalot's Avatar
    Cadalot is offline Early Fruiter
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    Nov 2015
    Sutton Surrey


    Hi Martyn, welcome to the madhouse that is the vine

    People seen to favour the no dig method these days but to me all you are doing is putting the pain back a while as bindweed, couch grass and brambles will find a way of coming to the surface if not removed so my guidance can be found here Alans Allotment: Clearing a New Allotment
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  4. #4
    Mr Bones's Avatar
    Mr Bones is offline Early Fruiter
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    Hi Martyn and welcome to the vine. As already said if you have perennials ideally they'll need removing first (I wouldn't use weedkiller either). Which ever way you choose to do it, it's going to involve a degree of work but now the growing season is closing down you should have a chance to get on top of it. Good luck and keep us posted
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  5. #5
    burnie is online now Veggie gardener
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    Jul 2006


    Welcome Martyn, it helps if we know roughly where you are, this way we can offer better advice suited to your local conditions and climate.
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  6. #6
    Chris11 is offline Banned
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    Sep 2015


    Welcome Martyn and good luck with allotment.

    I'd also avoid weedkiller, and strimmers can also be very bad for wildlife. As Mr B. says, any approach will involve some work.

    I try and do things as environment and wildlife friendly as possible. For a relatively small area, I don't think there's any substitute for a kneeling mat or pads, and a selection of decent weeding tools to get things out by the root. You're not disturbing any wildlife or soil structure, or killing worms unnecessarily.

    I don't think in the end it's any slower, and it can be quite satisfying.

  7. #7
    Snoop Puss's Avatar
    Snoop Puss is offline Mature Fruiter
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    Hi and welcome, Martyn.

    I went the glyphosate route to start off with as my patch was totally beyond control with perennial weeds. It was also quite a large plot. But I probably wouldn't if I were in your position, as you should be able to manage to get rid of the worst of the weed roots this winter on a plot of the size you describe.

    If you do go the weedkiller route, don't strim first, as it is absorbed through foliage. For the same reason, as leaves are dying back at this time of year anyway, you'll probably find it won't be as effective as you hope and the weeds will grow back again next year. Also, even though glyphosate is not supposed to have any impact on the soil afterwards, my crop the following year was not as good as I expected. This effect has been confirmed by an American university study. Another factor to bear in mind is that when I used it, glyphosate was regarded as a miracle solution with no long-term health or environmental impact. That is no longer believed to be the case. Be very careful to protect your eyes and don't spray near water, as it has a deleterious effect on aquatic wildlife.

    Your best method is to dig in smallish patches, covering up other areas and then uncovering as you go. Remove as much weed root matter as you can. If you have loads of muck or hay, pile it on the patches you've cleared. If you haven't, pile it on as a mulch as your plants begin to grow to block light to any weed seeds still waiting to germinate.
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  8. #8
    ESBkevin is offline Cropper
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    Jun 2015
    Mid Suffolk


    Welcome Martyn,

    Good advice here already and we each have our own favourites.
    Glyphosate weed killer is possibly linked to some health issues and certainly kills pollinators like bees. If you have perenial weeds it's best to dig them up if you can, but an alternative to Glyphosate is acetic acid (white vinegar if you like). The commercially produced stuff is cheap as chips and you've probably even had some on your chips. online 4 litres is under 10 and sprayed onto the growing weeds (no good in the dormant/winter season) will kill the top growth so you can cover with cardboard weighed down with compost/muck/woodchips etc. Come spring plant straight in and you have no/few weed problems, no digging required after extracting the perenial weeds like Dock/bindweed etc.
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