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Please help me sort my poor neglected allotment.

(11 Posts)
aprilrain Tue 18-Dec-12 13:20:39

We took over an allotment 2 years ago. In the first year, we did lots of work and had it looking half decent. We also produced quite a bit of veg too.

This year we had a shaky start. We had a difficult pregnancy and a premature baby born in March. DH did a little planting while me and DD2 were still in hospital but we didn't have any time to tend to the garden at all through the spring and summer so most of the crops failed. Nor have we tidied up much in the Autumn due to job changes and family demands.

So I have just opened my eyes and seen my poor neglected allotment. The grass paths are overgrown, the beds are full of weeds, there are pots of dead things littered around. The felting on the shed roof has come away and damp is getting in.

Is it too late to turn things around before the spring? It is so cold and wet out there, I think I could only manage maybe 30 minute bursts of activity. And I will be wearing my baby on my back while I work.

I should add that I am very much a novice at gardening apart from our lucky 1st year of allotment keeping.

Can I sort it out in December / Jan? Tell me what to do!

ClareMarriott Tue 18-Dec-12 18:28:04

If the weather stays ok in January , could you ask if any other of the people who have allotments could come and help you and your DH over a weekend and then say cook up a stew or something equally simple and hot as a thank you. ? ( also you would get to meet your gardening neighbours all in one go ! ) Best of luck

dreamingofsun Tue 18-Dec-12 19:47:09

put down black plastic or cardboard over any weeds and anchor with bricks or earth. this kills the weeds. Or on bare soil to stop weeds growing. (disclaimer - i'm still on the list and have never actually had one, just read and dream about them)

WynkenBlynkenandNod Tue 18-Dec-12 19:57:25

This year was a rubbish year so you didn't miss much! You've plenty of time. Get DH to go down for one session to mend the shed. Go down for half an hour and empty the pots in a corner to create a compost heap if you haven't got one.

Do the covering with cardboard/plastic thing as dreamingofsun says. When you get a dryish spell you can go down, uncovers bit, sort it out, then cover back up. A little but here and there soon adds up. It will instantly look better when you cut the grass in the spring.

If you think you'll be pushed for time plant low maintenance next year. Shove in fruit bushes through weed membrane, a couple of wigwams of borolotti beans that you leave in the pods to dry, plenty of squash, parsnips, rainbow chard, Oca and Yacon (realseeds sell them).

aprilrain Tue 18-Dec-12 20:46:55

Thanks for the brilliant suggestions - I feel motivated now. Where do I get hold of enough cardboard or plastic to cover my beds? Preferably for no money?

aprilrain Tue 18-Dec-12 20:49:48

Oh, and can I use my (electric) strimmer on the wildest corners even if the grass is wet? (We do have access to a power point)

WynkenBlynkenandNod Tue 18-Dec-12 22:16:11

I guess you could use the strimmer on wet grass but I'd be terrified of electrifying myself.

For cardboard maybe ask a bike shop or electrical shop and see if they have any they want to get rid of. Someone at our site got hold of black plastic from a builder. Also you could try Freecycle.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Tue 18-Dec-12 22:17:37

Maybe someone on the site has a petrol strimmer they could lend you ?

purplewithred Sat 22-Dec-12 20:44:34

Deep breath. Are you sure you are going to be able to put the time in this year? with two LO it's going to be tough. Is there anyone you could share with?, someone on the waiting list? Are you absolutely sure you want to keep it and can get the best out of it?

If you do...

Sort the shed roof out PDQ - just chuck a plastic sheet over it if necessary - so it gets a bit of a chance to dry out before the roof completely rots through and you find yourself with a bigger problem.

Do the covering up thing - just start collecting cardboard and do it as and when you can. Check around your local cardboard recycling bins for huge boxes to big to feed through the slots. Thick layers of newspapers work too.

Potatoes very good for keeping down weeds and looking after themselves.

CelticPromise Mon 31-Dec-12 11:53:29

Hello, hope you don't mind me joining your thread. I've just been offered an allotment after about two years on the list and it is a total state. I'd like to lurk on here for tips please!

I have grown veg a bit at home but this is a whole new world! The plot I hope to get is huge, with some mystery trees on it and some things that I think are soft fruit canes. it's got a fairly rickety shed and various abandoned bits. I was thinking that for a first year project clearing one or two beds for potatoes and squash and seeing how the trees get on would be enough. The rest is massively overgrown.

I am excited though! I think it's going to be a challenge, but fun!

DUSTIN Mon 31-Dec-12 12:47:26

We took on an allotment about 8 months ago. It was weedy and soil was in a poor state. We weeded and then rotavated but in a few days it was covered in weeds again. We were getting really disheartened until I read Charles Dowding books. We now have a manageable allotment with soil that looks healthier.

I am now excited about the next full growing season. I have planted 2 blackberry bushes, 20 raspberry canes (Summer and Autumn varieties) and a raised bed of strawberry plants. I have also prepared a raised bed to plant asparagus in the spring. The other beds are prepared ready for spring.

I would also recommend using cardboard. Ask in supermarkets if they would let you have some. We also used lots and lots of well rotted manure and green waste compost. Our local recycling centre will let you have the green waste compost for free if you bag it yourself. We take a trailor and fill it.

I am a novice and a few months ago was ready to give up as I thought we would never get sorted. I now feel that it is manageable and am enjoying my new hobby. I am also now addicted to seed catalogues and planning what to growsmile

Good luck and happy growing.

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