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Hi Everybody,

I'm new to the world of gardening and im after a bit of advice.

So I have just took on an allotment and its very overgrown with grass and weeds. 

So as i was cutting the grass today another Gardner approached me and said to me too spray the ground to kill the grass and weeds then start too turn the ground. 

So I was wondering if this will be good too do and if anybody has done this method what products did they use. 


Thanks in advance



If you work a section at a time, forking out any roots, you can then plant and weed through the season. If you spray everything with glyphosate now, you have to wait until everything has died down before you can fork it out and then plant. You will lose most of this season. If it is infested with bindweed then glyphosate is probably the way to go.  Do you know what weeds there are?

No expert

As fidgetbones says do a sectionat a time. But you could spray Glysophate on the sections that will not be dug for a few weeks. Then they will be clear of fresh growth when you get to them.

John Harding

FB is right, I wouldn't use glyphosate or any other weed killer at this time of year if I wanted to get on with some planting this season. Potatoes are a good crop to begin with as they will clear the ground and you will get some results. You can then plan what to grow afterwards. 

Start as FB says and dig the ground over removing as many roots of grass and weeds as you can. Pay close attention to dandelion roots if you have them and try to remove the whole root as any piece left in the ground will throw up a fresh plant. Incorporate some organic matter into the soil if you do grow potatoes as this will help prevent scab. Organic matter can be as simple as grass mowings (providing you haven't treated the grass recently with weed killers), or some composted manure - but be careful about using stable manure if you have horse stables nearby because horses eat weeds as well as grass and the seeds get a perfect supply of fertiliser when they come out of the other end of the horse!!!

You could then sow some cabbage seeds to have some spring cabbages ready to put in after the potatoes are harvested (or buy some plants later on in the season from a garden centre). Runner beans are also a great favourite with me and I sow a variety called Moonlight which are self fertile and extremely prolific. Runner beans though will need some compost that holds plenty of water under them - dig a trench and backfill with the compost then put about 4"-6" of soil over the top and sow the seeds in late May / early June amount 2" deep, then place some canes beside each seed station for the plants to climb up - you'll probably see other allotment holders growing runner beans and can copy what they do. Hope this helps. John H


Steve 309

I agree: tackle a section at a time and do it properly

You have to be absolutely assiduous in getting out the perennial weeds.  I bet you've got couch grass in amongst all the other stuff too.  Don't try and compost the roots & runners; take them to the recycling centre or put them in your green bin: the council's compost heaps will get really hot and kill everything.

After that hoe like mad in the bit you've cleared to kill any new weeds that germinate.  Weekly, I should say.

Spuds are a good idea as a first crop: it's not the plants themselves that clear the weeds,  but the amount of cultivation you have to do.  Grass cuttings (not too dense or they'll heat up and cook the spuds!) are an excellent compost for them,

Any areas you're not using can be covered with a thick opaque material all season to kill the weeds.  Most of them, anyway.  You could use large cardboard boxes, which someone will be throwing away when you go to the tip. Or old carpet.  Failing that, you might have to buy some thick black polythene. 

Welcome, and good luck



Agree with the above posters, the biggest mistake is trying to tackle everything at once.

As said before section it off into manageable areas and concentrate doing one at a time.


All good advise from above.

I got an allotment at the begining of February and have gone down each weekend for a few hours in the morning Saturday and Sunday, it's suprising how much can be done in a short time. Go home though when you get fed up and do as I did start several projects at the same time ranging from hard work to easy pessie, you can then move from one to the next depending on how much effort you want to put in that visit.   

If the plot is anything like mine was, there will be times when you just don't know where to start...focus on one area and ignore the rest of the plot.  

Make a mental note of to hard to do jobs...digging up couch grass was one for me... so after putting in a fence at the top of the plot dug the ground roughly, put in lots of muck and have covered with black plastic, that was an easy pessie job.

Check the weather forcast the day before you go point in going if it's going to rain on and off all day with no shed to shelter in. On these mornings I dismantled pallets at home for raised beds and have made a gate to take down tomorrow.     

Invest in a bucket to sit on or check out the pallet thread and make a bench. Have lots of breaks, take some water each day and be prepared to change your plans for the plot as it developes.

Take pictures each month to witness the change. 

Good luck and happy growing.        


Look at the other allotment posts. Lots of good advice, and I can't be a****d to repeat now!

Welcome. You will find us a friendly bunch, mostly.(everyone else is, anyway!) 

Steve 309

OOh yes - taking photos is a great idea.  You'll be able to look back at them and see how much progress you've made.  I ought to do that too!


Sorry for the not so friendly welcome. I am quite nice, really! I definately agree with covering any areas that you are not working on yet, if you wish to avoid spraying. You can never grow all that you want to on any land, in your first year, unless it was well cultivated when you got it. I would say dig the first area you want to use, as above, and cover the rest. Even tough perrenial weeds will eventually give up the ghost with no light for a whole yr. Those that don't, you could then resort to spraying with glyphosate after removing the cover and allowing them to grow on for a wkk or two. Try a 24hr weedkiller,(but they never are!) and wait till the topgrowth has gone. Glyphosate will allow you to replant immediately after the weeds are dead. You could plant the day after spraying, but you would have to plant around the weeds as if you disturb possibly live roots, you will have more than before. Patience in your first couple of years will reward you tenfold the next. You cannot rush clearing ground.

You could apply it soon, once the weeds are growing strongly, but they MUST die before you cultivate the soil. There will be hard work, the old fashioned way for your first grow season.

I know it sounds strange to let the weeds grow first, but they need to have enough leaf area to absorb the spray, and be growing strongly enough that it will be carried through the whole plant quickly. Young,weak or slow growing plants can survive a lot more chemical abuse than you think, as they are not moving enough water etc through their systems yet.

Do not even consider the types of weedkiller sold for paths. It will kill the weeds, but you will not be able to re-plant for a very long time. Glyphosate (Round-up, Resolve, etc) are your only option, as it becomes inactive in contact with the soil. Always read the small print on the label, especially ingredients if given!

I hope this gave you enough info to choose methods. Charles Dowding would be good to look up if you want to grow organically with less hard work. Almost everything you see on this forum is advice from members who have tried it themselves. I wish I had known about it in my first yrs of growing. You may find conflicting advice occasionally, in which case I would advise that you ask which part of what County the member is from, and see what advice you can get from someone nearer to you. But on an allotment, I would say be friendly and ask for as much advise from your neighbours as possible. Some will have grown there for yrs, and can tell you what will work there and what can't. There will always be differences of opinion, but you will get many different ideas from them and from here, and can filter all of it to suit your position. One person may say you can't grow pineapples, for example, but I'm sure I know someone on here who I willl be asking so I can try! He's also very good on composting and worms composting.

Edd, come help here?

So many skills are represented here, that new gardeners would struggle NOT to succeed with something. And as you learn more, you will have more specific questions that get you more specific answers. Stay tuned. Sometimes there are cakes! (if only virtually!) And watch out for Verdun. A fount of info he may be, but all he wants is cakes. Very fickle

You will soon come to meet the most knowledgeable members. They can be found on many threads. Most have some specialist knowledge,along with general, All are friendly, and the nicest bunch of people you will meet on any forum anywhere. I know for sure that they will always say 'Just Ask'. There is also a lot of fun on here. It is most definitely not a stuffy, boring forum, except for me. We even have a joke thread! although insults are thrown on there, regularly!

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