Posted: 06/06/2014 at 08:26
We cleared ours by hand as I don't do chemicals, mostly me with some help from my OH.
I would suggest buying some black plastic and covering part of your allotment whilst you concentrate on the rest. Don't be in a rush to think you have to be using all of your allotment straightaway just tackle it in bite size chunks.
We covered about half of ours with plastic and didn't tackle that part until the second summer so 12 months on ( we got our allotment in the June). On the other half we dug out perennial weeds first, concentrating on one part at a time so that we gradually created some raised beds and paths. As we have cleared each part the black plastic has being recycled to cover another area or cut into wide strips to form the base of a path. It's now our second summer and we are fully up and running and all the allotment is now fully in use.
Also remember that it is more valuable to pull up/dig out weeds before they go to seed. Sometimes all I did was go around the plot digging out docks or dandelions, ignoring anything else that wasn't an immediate weed threat. It doesn't give you an immaculate area to admire but does mean that your populations of weeds get reduced. We had loads of huge docks with great long tap roots but now just get the odd seedling appearing which can be easily yanked out.
It can feel overwhelming sometimes especially if you are near to immaculate plots but you will get there....
Good luck : )