Posted: 10/05/2012 at 18:38
i took over a very neglected allotment 4 yrs ago. It was also the worst plot on the site. clay,shallow soil, loads of stones and thick in rubbish and weeds; but the only one available so I took it on.
I cleared as much rubbish (old bits of plastic, carpets, wood, broken tools and even soem metal and glass!) and stamped or cut as many weeds as possible.
I then covered almost the entire plot in thick cardboard - old packing boxes which you can ofter get on Feecycle. I then began to work in a systematic way to clear an area at a time having first drawn a plan of what would go where.
I took over mine in early Autumn and so was able to clear the first patch for onions, shalots & garlic. Next the perenial fruit, strawberry bed, Raspberry canes etc. and rhubarb.
All this time the weeds were dying under the cardboard and enriching the soil. Until I was at the stage when I dug straight through the rooting carboard and dug out the worst pernicious weeds and burnt them.
As the soil was cleared through to the spring i replaced some of the card board having first scattered dried chicken manure and coverd with well rotted farmyard manure or soil. I also planted loads of potatoes to help break it all up.
I could then plant through carboard for many of my plants but particularly , courgetes, beens, peas, sweetcorn. This cut the back break of digging and most of my plot became a 'no dig'. year 2 were bumper years for the crops and i would do exactly the same again.