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Thread: What order should I tackle jobs in on my new plot?

  1. #1
    AllotmentMummy is offline Seedling
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    Question What order should I tackle jobs in on my new plot?

    I've took on my plot about six weeks ago and it is overgrown with grass (couch grass I think), some thistles (with a long tap root, not creeping thistle) and other random weeds.

    I'm hoping to use a 'no dig' approach to tackling the weeds as a) its been an organic plot for many years; b) I have a baby and toddler in tow so limited time; and c) I like the idea of a natural approach where possible and letting the soil do its own thing (with some help from manure, mulches etc obviously). [As an aside I have done a bit of digging to set up my bulb patch and some small veg gardens for the children - its very satisfying but not something I can do for the whole plot as it is 400sqm!]. Five of the fourteen beds I will be making are covered with cardboard and woven weed control fabric. This has been down for about a month now.

    I'd really appreciate some advice on what the best order is to tackle the remaining jobs in and how to work this in with the 'no dig' approach. The stuff I have left to do (in the short run!) is:
    - nine more beds to cover
    - start an onion patch (onions already bought)
    - set up a raspberry patch approx 1.5m by 4m
    - set up a soft fruit patch (blueberries, currants etc) approx 1.5m by 4m
    - plant seven fruit trees
    - set up areas for growing strawberries, asparagus, artichokes so I can plant out promptly next year when conditions allow.

    I am a bit unsure about what to prioritise first and have so many thoughts/questions. Any advice on questions/concerns below would be appreciated!

    I'd love to crack on with the raspberry patch but I'm conscious it should be as free of perennial weeds as possible. With 'no dig' that wont be for a while. Could I cut holes in my weed control fabric to get the raspberries going, with a view to removing the fabric once all the perennial weeds are killed off? (using normal mulch thereonin).

    Similar questions on the soft fruit patch - want to get it going but worried about perennial weeds.

    Although I cantheoretically plant fruit trees for a while yet, would it make sense to try and get them in before the weather turns much colder (obviously wouldn't be digging when the ground is frozen either way)?

    Should I prioritise the onions first as they are meant to be in by now?

    I think its too late to start as asparagus patch but could set it up now for spring planting?

    If I do the fruit patches and fruit trees first, am I risking the other nine beds (which still need to be covered) not being ready for annual veg next year? I'm open to growing wider spaced plants through the weed control fabric so could keep the fabric down for longer. Alternatively, although I haven't found a good compost supplier I am getting some well rotted manure delivered soon - so could mulching with that under the weed control fabric would be one way to ensure some of the beds are ready more quickly?

    Thanks for reading this far and sorry for a long post. I could post some of these as separate posts for specific advice but at the moment its the question of what order to do things in that is bothering me. Would love to hear any advice you have. Thanks

  2. #2
    nickdub is offline Early Fruiter
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    I'd say at least get the fruit bushes and trees in the ground for now - you never know what the weather will do and digging around planting trees in frosty ground is a recipe for disaster.

    You don't need to plant them in their final positions, just somewhere reasonable for the time being. Obviously you don't want to replant trees and bushes all the time - they wont grow properly if treated that way - but a temporary planting now and a move some time later next year, if done sensibly will do them no harm.


    BTW try to plant them at the same level they were when in their pots or nursery beds ie the soil level should come up roughly to the same place after planting as it did when they were growing previously.

  3. #3
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    Hi and welcome.
    I'm not going to attempt to answer all your questions but I will say that, no dig or not, you need to remove/dig out the perennial weeds, especially where you want to plant perennial plants - fruit bushes & trees, asparagus.
    Do what you can - when you can. If you cover the beds with cardboard you can put the mulch on top of it and plant through the mulch and cardboard.
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    Don't panic! Don't panic!

    If the fruit trees are ok frost free and in decent sized pots you could leave that for now.
    raspberry bed - doesn't sound like you are too inundated with perennial deep rooted weeds but dig out very worst then plant through suppresant
    - you can leave the suppresant down
    I grow my onions overwintter through suppresant too.. works fine so get em in

    Don't panic
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  5. #5
    AllotmentMummy is offline Seedling
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickdub View Post
    I'd say at least get the fruit bushes and trees in the ground for now - you never know what the weather will do and digging around planting trees in frosty ground is a recipe for disaster.

    You don't need to plant them in their final positions, just somewhere reasonable for the time being. Obviously you don't want to replant trees and bushes all the time - they wont grow properly if treated that way - but a temporary planting now and a move some time later next year, if done sensibly will do them no harm.


    BTW try to plant them at the same level they were when in their pots or nursery beds ie the soil level should come up roughly to the same place after planting as it did when they were growing previously.
    Thanks Nick, hadn't thought of that and useful to know about planting at the same soil level!

  6. #6
    AllotmentMummy is offline Seedling
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    Quote Originally Posted by veggiechicken View Post
    Hi and welcome.
    I'm not going to attempt to answer all your questions but I will say that, no dig or not, you need to remove/dig out the perennial weeds, especially where you want to plant perennial plants - fruit bushes & trees, asparagus.
    Do what you can - when you can. If you cover the beds with cardboard you can put the mulch on top of it and plant through the mulch and cardboard.
    Great idea thanks. Will do multiple layers and plant through.
    veggiechicken likes this.

  7. #7
    AllotmentMummy is offline Seedling
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baldy View Post
    Don't panic! Don't panic!

    If the fruit trees are ok frost free and in decent sized pots you could leave that for now.
    raspberry bed - doesn't sound like you are too inundated with perennial deep rooted weeds but dig out very worst then plant through suppresant
    - you can leave the suppresant down
    I grow my onions overwintter through suppresant too.. works fine so get em in

    Don't panic
    You made me laugh Baldy - I do feel a bit panicky! Is it too late if the onions only go in end of December? Have bought a pointy firelighter thing to try burning holes on the suppressant fabric - hoping not to set it alight. What do you use to make holes?
    Chestnut likes this.

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    Baldy's Avatar
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    Pointy firelighter -thingy
    Scarlet and AllotmentMummy like this.

    1574 gin and tonics please Monica, large ones.

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