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17 messages
19/09/2013 at 18:25

Hi, I need advice about what to do on my new Allotment? I have only had it since late June & it was covered in grass & weeds, i have black plastic , which i have covered most weedy areas with but, now i am not sure wether to dig over the areas with Manure for next year?  or leave them?? Help!

19/09/2013 at 19:23

If you have got rid of the weeds, I would rough dig and spread manure on top to let the winter do the work for you, many will say dig it in but we spread last year and then redug in the spring. Digging and clearing in the autumn has always been best for us, gives you a good start in the spring. If you have any beds prepared you can always plant onions and garlic to over winter. gives you a start, you can always put some more in the spring. hope this helps. There is not a definitive answer to gardening and you will get conflicting advice for just about everything you do. Look at the good plots near you and copy them. They must know what suits your area. Good digging.

19/09/2013 at 22:13

You could plant leeks and shallots too.

20/09/2013 at 08:05

I'm not clear what you've done to get rid of the weeds - you say you've covered the weedy area with black plastic - I'd use the autumn and winter time to give it a good dig over to get rid of the weeds - the only proviso being not to go on the soil when it's really wet and claggy and sticks to your spade and boots.  

When you've dug it over and got rid of the weeds you can spread manure on two thirds of the area - leaving one third for the veg that don't like freshly manured soil.

20/09/2013 at 09:55
Hi Connie good advise youv got ,i would also if you have any place old cardboard (tape free ) on the soil then manure on top and cover ,it works well for us allotmenteers here in Tenby,
20/09/2013 at 11:33

There is nothing more daunting than clearing a neglected allotment plot! The secret is little and often. When I acquired my plot 4 years ago, the weeds were taller than SWMBO. If you can divide weed into 2 types those that can be composted and those that need to be destroyed (docks, dandelion, and thistle). Take a small part and double dig removing those mentioned above. Best of Luck!

20/09/2013 at 12:36
Dont forget Dandelion makes better tea than nettle and comfrey mix it in the brew
hubble bubble
20/09/2013 at 12:53

I'd double dig over the site now, removing any roots by hand, and then add a generous layer of well-rotted manure to the top & let the worms do the rest of the work. 

I agree, little & often - dig until you need a break, pour over the seed catalogues for a bit, & then back to the digging!

Another note - have you tested the soil?  Best do this before adding the manure.

20/09/2013 at 15:26

Weeds that can be composted can be buried as you dig, Put them at the bottom of the first spit. If you are uncertain, bin them.

20/09/2013 at 15:29

I also have a cunning plan(of the likely areas) for the following year.

Sketch out the beds/areas on paper or on a computer and designate each for a future crop. For instance prepare a bed for Autumn onions/ garlic first and then another for Broad Beans in October/ November. This website gives useful warnings/hints as what to plant and when. The sight of greenshoots appearing is incentive enough to carry on through the winter.

The plan can be altered and used for crop rotation for following years.

28/09/2013 at 17:05

A Big thankyou to everyone that answered my query it was all useful advice, I think i will go with the Winter do the work idea, as i am in west Yorkshire, it gets pretty Frosty so, that should help? I was just worried that if i hadn't got all the weeds out before Manuring the area? I would just be feeding them for the following Spring? anyway i will perservere regardless lol, connie

28/09/2013 at 18:29

Connie, remove all the perennial weeds - dandelions, field buttercup etc and hoe the rest down before they seed (if they haven't already.)  If you aren't sure which weeds you have, post a few photos and we'll ID them for you.

30/09/2013 at 10:25

Just highjacking to say thank you too. First winter on the alottment here too and found this thread really useful!

26/10/2014 at 11:33

happy digging I am winding down now in the allotment, a few plants in that will overwinter hopefully without problems, my first winter too. thank you for the advice

27/10/2014 at 07:28
A (very!) old hand at allotmenteering once told me that autumn & winter were when he did all the heavy work on his plot - digging & spreading. He always reckoned it was work that had to be done at some stage before the new planting season & he was way too busy doing the fun stuff of growing & planting in the spring. Also gave him an excuse to escape to his tea shed in the winter!
27/10/2014 at 14:15

I used cardboard in my garden over grass. Has worked perfectly so far as a no dig solution. I have health issues do it has to be light tasks.

the cardboard rots down over winter, already on it's way and of course supresses weeds - or grass is my case.

27/10/2014 at 16:34

I reckon once you've got all (ha ha) the perennial weeds out, cover with manure and at least one layer of thick cardboard,  Weigh it all down with bricks/branches and pull out any weeds that get through.  By sowing time you should have some lovely rich friable soil underneath.

Def. agree about garlic, onions & broad beans over the winter as well.  Mine did well last year - though I daresay the mild weather helped.  Spring cabbage too, although that needed to ahve gone in in August.  Next year you'll have parsnips, leeks, savoys etc. to see you through as well.  Yum.

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