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Allotment advice


I've just got an allotment last week and am sharing it with a neighbour. She's in her 70's, so am going to be doing all the digging & prep myself. Am totally new to all this allotment stuff, and my friend is the same so we are not sure the best way to prepare the ground ready for planting in the Spring. Should I dig now and cover? Or would it be best to let the ground take in the rain all winter as someone else at the allotment has said? Would putting compost down be the best thing to if I do dig new beds this month? As you can see, am completely clueless! I'd like it not to be a mad rush in the Spring, but also, I'd like not to make the effort now and for it to be completely covered in weeds again by Spring! Any tips for a novice, be greatly received image


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 72,085

    I don't like covering soil with plastic/carpets or whatever - I think it makes it airless and stagnant and discourages bio-diversity needed for good fertility and soil structure.

     I'd rough dig it now, removing all weed roots etc, and then leave it rough for the winter frosts to break down the clods.

    In the meantime get some farmyard manure and stack and cover it in a corner of the plot, and then in February, or as soon afterwards that it's possible to walk on the soil without it all sticking to your boots, then spread the manure and turn it in.  When it's time for spring sowing and planting that should have produced a good friable tilth that you can rake down into a seedbed.

    Don't forget to leave an area without manure for growing your root crops (carrots, parsnips etc) as they will fork if grown on freshly manured land.

    Good luck with your allotment adventure. Let us know how you get on image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,082

    Green manure is another option after digging over the plot. Have a look here for some ideas of suitable seed mixes.

    • Yep, all good advice. Get into the digging and use a little bit of your space to pop in some garlic for next year. Don't forget to mark the ends of your row with sticks or labels.
  • me londonme london Posts: 119

    Many thanks folks, great advice and top tips! Just what I needed image


    Thankyou again!

  • me londonme london Posts: 119

    Hello, a few months on and am slowly getting there. Dug up some beds last year, and apart from thistle and dandelions, they stayed pretty clear, and been digging up some more of my plot image  The problem I have is one end of my allotment plot is thick with doves foot/cranes bill weed, and it's so spread it's impossible to dig up, all those little white roots and all. I've sprayed some areas 3 times with glyphosate but it doesn't work on these weeds it seems (or dandelions, but at least can dig those out ok!).

    Any advice/tips on how to get rid be much appreciated. Sorry to pop in like this and beg again for your knowledge!

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