my recently acquired allotment is completely covered in strong growing weeds inv.thistles,bindweed etc..please advise best approach
I'm sorry to totally disagree with you Rebecca, but where perennial weeds are concerned, glyphosate is the only SENSIBLE way forward. With an infinite number of friends and an equally infinite amount of money and time, you can get on top of " strong growing weeds" but most of us don't have that luxury. Sorry.
Or instead of using black plastic lay sheets of cardboard down then mulch deeply over it with rotted manure. See Charles Dowding and his no dig approach to weed reduction.
Take your time. Just do one or two areas in your first season whilst covering up the rest with thick black plastic/old carpets are a cheaper option/ and you can work on the covered areas a bit at a time in autumn and winter saving your back! Roll up the carpet do a bit of digging & roll it back down and the rain will soak in stopping the coverings blowing off. If the top level of decent soil is not very deep/poor like ours its better to make raised beds rather than dig down into clay or rubbish soil...then you can add your manure/topsoil/compost mix into the raised beds. its a few bob initially buying in the stuff but after filling its just an annual top up and dig over in late autumn early spring...a lot of garden shops have a sell off of composts in autumn. Good luck and bend those knees!
I have all this to look forward to. Just got the keys for my new plot and the grass is knee high. Sadly there is a bit of mares tail in one area so suggestions of how to deal with this would be appreciated. I am collecting a combination of cardboard and black plastic. I noticed some of the other allotmentiers have used tarpaulins, so will use ours aswell. I did read about something called Solarization where you put clear plastic down and seal the sides, has anyone tried this method?
I had an allotment infested with bindweed. I constantly asked myself " why did the last guy let it get so bad?"
You certainly have my sympathy there My friend and I acquired our plot last year .It too was knee high in weeds of every shape and size .Hard graft digging everything out hand weeding and spraying areas which were not to be planted proved satisfactory.This year the planting areas are manageable hand weeding and hoeing.The sprayed areas are back to jungle again.I just wish all the produce grew as well as the weeds Good Luck!