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  • Clearing an overgrown plot is never any fun, but when it's done, you'll feel a real sense of accomplishment - even before you plant anything. You plan sounds fine, but the only thing I would say is to be careful about the rotavator. If you plot is full of horrible weeds (bindweed, couch grass, comfrey), then a rotavator will just chop them all up into little pieces - each of which will grow into another plant next season. I know its hard work, but sometimes digging the soil by hand and pulling out the weeds at their roots will make your life easier in the long run. Also, I would advise you not to put those perennial weeds on your compost bin. Get rid of them some other way (we burn ours).
    Good luck
  • Surplus lettuce (and other salad) leaves? They make excellent "spinach". Steamed in butter, a little salt and sugar. Add peas (optional).
  • I have spent 3 days clearing a wilderness, e.g. blackberry runners roots etc. The plot is about 12 foot X 6 foot. I want to have an "All round" pleasant feeling/display. What can I do?
  • Rotovators are a bit tricky, they tend to run away with you. A good dig over and cover with black plastic should do the trick. When you are preparing to plant remove the plastic and remove any roots, then dig lightly and rake over. You should be ready to go then. Enjoy!
  • I had an allotment when I lived in England, and found that trying to get rid of the weeds to start off with was a horrendous task. The first year I got no crops at all, because they all became swamped with the weeds that sprang up after I thought it was cleared. Although it is preferable to garden organically, on an allotment this is difficult because you are surrounded by other plots that may not be organic. I would recommend using a weedkiller such as Roundup to get started. This kills the weeds where it comes into contact with the leaves, but becomes inert in the soil. This will clean your plot initially, then you can go into the digging, rotovating etc. You will probably only need to do this once, and then you will be able to get it under control.
  • I'm still waiting for my allotment! Having learnt that if six people request allotments from the local council, they are required by law to provide them, I put notices up in the town and so far we've got about 40 people wanting them! It's been nearly a year now, so hopefully we won't have to wait too much longer once the council can negotiate land for the purpose. As far as cultivation is concerned, I would certainly not recommend a rotavator! Hand digging and weeding is time consuming but pays off in the end! On a veg plot I used to cultivate I would cover the plot with well rotted manure in the autumn following harvest and cover that with black plastic over winter. In the spring, when I removed it, the worms had done the work for me, the muck had disappeared and any bind-weed roots were all on top of the soil - easy to remove and burn once dried. To top it all, the soil was warm, ready for spring sowing.
  • arlene p Hi well done with the allotment, it sounds as if you may hit the jack pot, as a brownfield site is land that has been previously built on so it is possible that you may be digging someone's garden. all the best.
  • Lots of good advice! I took on an allotment last year, and the plan that worked best was to clear a bit and plant it before going on to the rest. I used covering to reduce weeds. It took me 15 months to clear my plot (144 sq. metres) and I enjoyed (almost!)every minute. This autumn I planted a flower bed at one end to attract pollinating insects, as well as to look beautiful, and included comfrey for the compost heap. Go for it and enjoy! I'm nearly 70, still work part-time, and love my allotment.
  • ive had my plot for 2 years and here is a warning to all allotment holders no matter how busy you are never ever be too busy to lock the gates. heres what just happened to me, saturday we had a wedding to go to and time was short but in the morning i had a call from friends at the local church to see if i could donate veg for the harvest festival. happyily i said yes so off we went to the plot to dig up lots of things filling a large box(rushing as we needed to get to the wedding)and then going to church to deliver it, by now feeling very proud that we could help by giving away lovely veg to help others. anyway our good deed done was done and of we went and had a lovely time at the wedding returning home very late shattered.

    sunday morning we were woken by a knock at the door,it was a chap from the allotment asking if we had locked the gates yesterday as we had suffered a break in,!!!! yes youve guessed it, we were rushing so much we didnt lock up ,i was devastated. someone had removed the roofs of the sheds and taken the contents. convinced i was about to lose my plot my husband went up and thank goodness the others told me not to worry because it was just one of those things and not our fault.

    i still feel so guilty that because of us we were robbed so please please no matter how busy you are always lock the gates.a good deed has now cost me the trust of my fellow gardeners and there cost of replacing items stolen.tomorrow i will have to face them say sorry and im so so worried. but at least the church were over joyed with our donation even though they are also upset when i told them whats happened.

  • I have had my plot for 7 years now. It was classed as derelict and in an awful mess. I used carpet to cover some of it but invested in a 100 x 2 meter roll of Mypex which I used to cover the rest. I rolled it back bit by bit. Each time I cultivated this small area very well, made raised beds and made sure they were kept free of weeds. The beds range from 12x4 and 24x4 feet for veg, to 10x24 for top fruit. Since then carpet has been banned from allotments in Blackpool. They are deemed to be full of harmful chemicals from their production! What do you think? Anyway in the years that followed I have managed to get to a point where weeds are really quite easy to control. There are no short cuts! The Mypex has now been put to use as very good path lining between all the beds. An allotment is not for the faint hearted but, if you commit yourself to, at least, a full day's work each week, by the time next spring arrives you will have a clean canvass to create your own work of, edible and floral, art. Good luck.
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