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  • Allotment newcomers

    Recently have taken on a new allotment. After spraying with weed killer to get rid of the bindweed we have now started turning the ground over.
    The soil is very stony any tips on how to deal with that ?
    Also we were thinking of using a plastic sheet to cover what we have done so far in order to keep it weed free while we do the rest.
    Thinking of using a hoe to cut the tops off the longer remaining weeds?
    Any tips of starting off wed be so grateful!

  • #2
    Well, personally, i wouldn't have started off how you did...


    Bindweed is weed that will grow from small fragments of root. If you turn the soil without picking all the bits out, you'll just carry on the same.

    I agree re covering the bits you aren't using. Note, plastic blows away in the wind and degrades in the sun. I would weight it down and cover it if possible (we have free woodchip on our site).

    I am a complete convert to the "no dig" approach. The basics are 1) don't turn the soil over (you just wake up weed seeds and destroy the soil structure) 2) put a layer of cardboard down and grow in compost on top. That is my ideal recommendation.

    Are you planning to grow this year (unusual time of year to get a plot), or are you planning for next?

    I would
    1) polythene and woodchip the areas you won't get to.
    2) anywhere you are planting this year, go through with a fork and pick out the bindweed roots (white, usually.c1-3mm thick) - err on the side of caution. Mulch/top-dress with compost
    3) areas for next year, cover in cardboard, then put compost on about a month before planting (or put it down now and do green manure).

    Sorry yes, hoeing weeds is a very good idea.

    Hope this helps

    Last edited by bikermike; 11-08-2019, 02:45 PM.


    • #3
      Bikermike's advice is good, so I'll just say hello and welcome and good luck.
      Living in north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep.


      • #4
        I however agree with most of your initial approach.

        I would have left the digging for a while, instead I leave the weedkiller to do it’s thing for a fortnight and then rake off the area to allow any missed growth to get going again. By this point you are 3-4 weeks in (depending on time of year & weather) and ready to weedkiller again. Once the weedkiller has done it’s job you can either dig over or cover with layers of cardboard.

        Currently doing a 2nd plot by this method, the first is producing great results a year after taking over a marestail infested wreck.

        Stones.... you pick em out
        Last edited by Logunner; 11-08-2019, 03:25 PM.


        • #5
          Hi Leanne and welcome.
          As you can see already, here are some who use weedkiller and some who don't. there's no right or wrong way, it depends on what works for you.
          I don't use weedkiller or pesticides because I like to know that none of the poisons are making their way into the food that I grow.
          Bindweed is a "bind" but if you keep pulling it up and removing all the bits of root that snap off, you'll win. There are worse weeds to have on your plot.


          • #6
            I'm a firm believer in a one off spray with a glyphosate based weedkiller to clean up a dirty plot. You ask for advice on how to deal with it being very stoney. Dig with a fork!! If it really is very stoney, rake off the worst of the stones and dispose of them but don't be tempted to try to get rid of them all. They help with drainage and help also with retaining heat in the soil.

            My plot was really reall stoney when I took it on. I made a hard standing area for the car outside the plot. I still get stones turning up in springtime but nowhere near as bad as it was.

            DOn't be tempted to try to dig it all over at once. You will become despondent very quickly. Do a wee bit at a time and do it often. Black polythene will keep the weeds down but will also prevent moisture from getting into the ground. Some folks use cardboard or newspapers but it all depends on what you can get your hands on.


            • #7
              You've had lots of advice most of it different but that's the vine so I'll just say hello and welcome.


              • #8
                Hi Leanne sorry I can’t offer any advice you seem to have some good advice already from the grapes, so I’ll just wish you a welcome to the grapevine ����


                • #9
                  Hi Leanne, welcome to the vine! You'll find lots of very knowledgeable people here that will be happy to answer any questions you may have

                  Personally I don't know so much, but I follow the no dig method that was mentioned earlier too, this being the first year. i have two plots, and the bits I've done no dig (with horse manure, rather than bought compost) have been very successful this year, and very easy to maintain once the beds are in place. My biggest bed is about ten foot wide, and 75 foot long, so nearly the full length of the plot, and that only takes about ten fifteen minutes to weed if I go every week, even when things grow like mad!

                  I don't use weedkiller or pesticides at all. I don't use slug pellets on the plot either - there seem to be no slug damage up there, but I do cover things from the birds, cause they'd eat all my cabbage and kale if they could! I am up there tomorrow to check it all over after the windy weather.

                  Good luck with it all, and do ask questions if you have any!


                  • #10
                    Hi Leanne and welcome to the Vine from a fellow allotmenteer. Whichever way you choose to clear your plot take lots of photos, it's going to be tough going for a while but looking back at the pics will confirm your progression. Plus after you've made a few posts you can put them up on here and show off your hard work
                    Good luck with it


                    • #11
                      Hello and welcome.

                      I'm another no dig advocate, but I do love the smell of turned earth and it's difficult to let go of the ingrained traditional gardening methods.

                      Since you can't grow much this year (putting in shop bought brassicas for winter is possible and maybe some late carrots). I would be covering the dug ground with two layers of brown corrugated cardboard and covering that with a thick compost of some sort. Come next year that will need a small top up of compost and be ready to sow straight into.

                      But there are many options and you should follow your own furrow.


                      • #12
                        Oh yes, take pics as you go.
                        And don't forget to drink tea/beer/gin (to preference) and enjoy being in the plot. It's got to be fun.

                        Is it the season to plant fruit bushes? You might be able to get some long-term stuff in?


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