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sgt.colon

Exciting news

Well for me it is.

I've finally got myself an allotment. Never had one before and I'm very excited. Smile

Top tips from you knowledgeable people are very warmly welcomed.
Slim

Try not to curse the person who had it before you too much. Laughing
dpack

wav

get a big plastic drum with a lid for making mixture, apart from the stunning plant food it is ideal for "composting"stuff that would be bad in a heap, weed seeds/roots, dead rats and random bits of zoo jigsaw from the bottom of the freezer can all go in and it also converts chicken muck/ BFB into much more plant friendly forms

put it as far from where you or your neighbours sit as you can and make sure the lid fits

iirc the ds archives have some ace new allotment threads

find a source of manure/ critter bedding, even fresh which is easier to get free is very useful, heap fresh /activate with mixture/wait a bit/plant pumpkins cucumbers etc . after that it is ready for use on the soil.
you cannot have too much manure, compost and mixture.

smother can work as well as dig for weeds ,smother with manure is good

bit of a manure theme but the main problem with a lot of allotments is soil condition.

wombled windows etc are ace for cold frames, a roll of 1000gm polythene is ace for cloches, tunnels, solarisation, compost heap covers etc etc

mattock, fork, spade, kukri/machete/big gp knife to taste, pocket knife, hose pipe or other means of big watering, watering can (mixture etc ), trowel, dibber, hoe.
those tools cover most things, a wheel barrow is handy but there is often a few site ones.
dpack

ps string rope sticks etc etc etc are handy, womble owt that looks useful.
gz

Try not to curse the person who had it before you too much. Laughing


Very good advice...especially if they end up back with another plot on the same site!
Mistress Rose

Great news. All the best with it. Sorry, no advice as I have never had an allotment. We looked after an old lady's large garden in our first house and have a large enough garden for growing veg here.
sgt.colon

Thanks all.

DPack thank for you all that advice. All noted and will be used. Smile
gz

little by little...how near to home is your allotment and do you have a shed?
sgt.colon

It's not far at all GZ, about a 10 minute walk. There is nothing there at the moment, it's a blank canvas. I will invest in a small shed though and probably put in some raised beds.
gz

Ten minutes is good..a warmup pre-digging
Slim

Proximity is fantastic. Time for a bike trailer to haul home your harvests?
sgt.colon

Never thought of that GZ. Smile

That is a good idea Slim. I think I'll look into that.
gregotyn

You will need some strong wire if you are going to make the supporting hoops and holding down hoops for your cloches. The cloche is important if you want early, early potatoes. Cloches keep the frost off and increase the temperature by day, although I used to give the potatoes an airing every day and even if no frost promised at night I always covered them when I went to bed. I forgot once and was down the garden in my pjs at midnight. Best of luck you have all the gardeners here to advise, I am still learning after gardening for a few years. It is always a good plan to mark your beds out and have them protected with a few perimeter boards and gives clear areas for your rotation. Also try to make a cage to cover at least one of your beds and preferably two, to keep the birds off where you don't want them-in the raspberries for example. Any way have fun. A bicycle with a mini trailer will bring the produce home, good extra exercise, but keep the arms fitter for the digging.
gregotyn

Sorry, I have just read Slim's post regarding the bike. Guess I should have read them all first! A shed is critical; tools develop feet, legs and a mind of their own if not locked away when not in use.
Something else I thought of is to grow spuds in old tyres. If you are short of space then you can use tyres up to about 5 high-4 was my limit I think, due to a short growing season. I will tell you how if you feel the need. But they are a good cleaning crop, but it is you who does the cleaning with inter-row cultivations.
Slim

Sorry, I have just read Slim's post regarding the bike. Guess I should have read them all first!


I won't complain about you agreeing with me Laughing
wellington womble

COVER THE SOIL! all of the time. Never, ever leave it bare. It sprouts weeds in seconds. It matter less what you cover it with, so long as it keeps the light out.

My preference is proper, woven weed suppressing membrane. I cover the beds all winter with it, and then when it’s time to plant I cover the gaps around/between plants with grass cuttings or bark chippings as I plant the beds up, which I renew as available. At the end of the season I cover with alpaca/chicken/guinea pig bedding/compost (also as available) and then with WSM again, leaving lovey, crumbly, fertile soil to plant straight into. If you are religious about it, it will nearly eliminate weeding, making your gardening about pleasurable planting and less back breaking digging or 'preparing' of beds, which is tedious when you want to get stuff in the ground.

Also, think about paths. I favour weed suppressing membrane with gravelly stuff over it (bark chips were fine in year one, and ok in two. By year three they had rotted down into lovely compost and my paths grew more weeds than the beds did). I haven’t yet found a good construction method of keeping the paths easy to walk/barrow on (don’t underestimate how much more pleasureable this makes gardening) and keeping the soil off them. I’m thinkng of Hoggin, but I think it would hard to sweep/wash down.
dpack

beds one can reach the middle of from a decent path are rather good.

a plank path in a big bed can be handy ( or should that be footy Rolling Eyes ) with a bit of rope on one end they can be easily portable should that be useful. foot on one end lower or raise the other end with the rope.

re weeds, if you have perennial weeds that propagate from root fragments do not rotavate , ever

let us know what weeds you have , we know how to kill most of em.
a decent hoe is usually the best tool for intercrop weeding

for best advice photos and reports of the state of it might help

soil conditioning is a must even with good soils as good soils can be made better

one doable bed at a time was effective with my one ( a remedial job ) to start to get stuff growing asap which helps a lot with the diplomatic aspects.
your fellow allotmenteers will be a mixed bunch but some will have a stunning knowledge and skill set .

at this time of year a few successive plantings of early ,mid and main crop spuds, hoeing and earthing up will clean a decent area and might give a half decent return for effort on most soils.
Slim

Everything dpack just said, and my take/interpretation of two of his points:

soil conditioning is a must even with good soils as good soils can be made better

one doable bed at a time was effective with my one ( a remedial job ) to start to get stuff growing asap which helps a lot with the diplomatic aspects.
Organic matter makes most soils better, and doesn't ever really do anything to make them worse.

It's good to harness your enthusiasm, but better to wish you had planted more than to wish you didn't have so much weeding to catch up on.
dpack

perhaps i was not clear, by one bed at a time i mean prep and plant a bed then the next then the next etc rather than prep lots then plant lots. Mistress Rose

If you have a pet charcoal burner near you, a little small charcoal, the sort he/she may throw away unless they are in the biochar market can make a good addition. If you have a log fire the ash is good for spot fertilising things like tomatoes, but the potash washes out of it quickly, so has to be kept dry and used when needed, which is flower set time. sgt.colon

Thank you for all that great advice. I've lots to learn.

I like the sound of minimal weeding WW. I think some time spent planning and setting up properly is a must.

Apparently they get deliveries of free manure a few times a year and then guy showing me around said you can just help yourself.
frewen

Love a load of free manure Cool

What are you getting in first?
Fee

Great news on the manure! We loved our allotment.

Have you got any seeds planted yet? Smile And plans drawn?

Starting with a blank canvas is a bonus, too.
sgt.colon

Frewen and Fee,

I will be sitting down this weekend and planning out my plot. Not sure what I'm going to get in there first. Someone easy I think whilst I get it up and running. I'm going to go with DPacks idea of one bed at a time. I would like to do beetroot and some lettuce I think. Some garlic later in the year. There are some free large blue tubs about so some carrots as well I think.

At some point I'd like to get a small greenhouse on there for toms and chilli's.
sgt.colon

Here are a couple of photos of my little plot. Apparently it hadn't been used for 15 years up to last year when a lady took it on but then gave it up.



gregotyn

Just cover all of it as soon as you can, then dig where you want and cover again till you want to sow your seeds or plant out plants you have grown at home or bought in. Weeding is such a back breaking job, and when you are on top of it, it is usually just hoeing to maintain the ground with minimal weeds-you will never get rid of them all however you try! Remember that the more you dig the more weed seeds you will bring to the surface to germinate!
MOST IMPORTANT-"Always have a can of lubricant with you, for that moment when you need to reflect-well at least 2 cans, as you may need refreshment on the way there as well as on the way back" Take 3 to be safe.
sgt.colon

Thanks for that Gregotyn, I'll get down in the next couple of weeks and get it all covered before I start. Maybe I should just take a crate down. Very Happy Nicky Colour it green

might be worth looking at the no-dig gardening method


not to be confused with no work! - but with free compost deliveries could be good,
Fee

Looks great, sgt.colon! That's going to be such a nice place to spend your time come later in spring and summer, with those trees! Nice path, too!
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