Preparing an Overgrown Allotment

MrsFlowerPotMrsFlowerPot OxfordshirePosts: 2
Hi I have been lucky to get a half allotment - it's seriously overgrown with weeds/grass and goodness knows what else - about 6' high!   I was planning to cut it down to about 4 - 5" off the ground and then a fellow allotment holder said he would burn the grass with a flame thing.   I've never heard of this - would you say it's ok to do?   I will then presumably be left with burnt offerings to rake up and dig out?  I feel a bit overwhelmed to be honest - it looks like a jungle!   

The allotment is about 18' feet wide and 30' long.

This is my first post, and I am still finding my way around the forum. Forgive me if I delay on replying to any advice.

Looking forward to chatting with others.



  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 12,515
    Sounds reasonable. You have to clear all the top growth, then fork out all the roots. Do NOT rotavate as it breaks up all the dock and bindweed roots into bits and the problem is far worse, as each piece produces a new plant.  If you are not planning on planting anything this year, it may be worth cutting it down, allowing regrowth and spraying everything with glyphosate. That gets rid of the perennial weeds.  Cover any parts not being used for planting this year with black plastic until the area is needed.
    It's not a mess, it's a nature reserve.
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 1,779
    That sounds a very good plan, along with FB's advice.  Don't try to tackle it all this year, just work on bit by bit.  It's not too late to get some veg into the ground, so make a few rows (with black plastic or layers of cardboard and mulch between to cover undug areas) a priority.  Dig out a foot wide row, pull out weed bits, plant up.. dig up another row three feet away parallel, pull out weeds.. cover the undug soil between the rows to be tackeled at a later date.. etc.  The covering will kill off many of the weeds, but you'll have plenty left to battle.  But it's great to get something in the ground, that you can harvest this fall, and feel some success and excitement.  Some things you can still direct sow, and others you'll need to pick up as plants at the GC this year. 

    Best of luck!
    Utah, USA.
  • MrsFlowerPotMrsFlowerPot OxfordshirePosts: 2
    Thank you All good advice.  I’ll tackle bit by bit.  I like the idea of covering it over summer and winter to kill off.   I have a lot of digging ahead 😬.  Rotovating seems the easier option but the weeds only get buried to grow again! Hopefully I’ll get some produce off it.  I found a couple of fruit bushes hidden in the undergrowth with berries on. 
    Thanks sgain. 
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