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Allotment overgrown with weeds

(9 Posts)
Aquiver Tue 31-Oct-17 18:02:40

Hi all,

I’ve recently been lucky enough to acquire an allotment - but I’m already becoming a little disheartened! Unfortunately the plot was abandoned by the previous owner, and is overgrown with weeds. Thankfully no bindweed, but I’m nervous that there is some couch grass lurking sad

I went over the entire area with weed killer a few weeks ago, and then covered with a weed cover fabric. I was able to dig over a couple of plots and recover with fabric - but had to be away for the best part of a mo th for Work.

Unfortunately, the covers have not worked well and the weeds have just returned sad I don’t know what to do for the best really - should I respray with weed killer, try and remove the weeds manually (I’m scared of not getting the roots out fully)?

I would love to have a couple of good sections to keep weedfree over winter to grow things on for the Spring, so would welcome your advice! smile

Phantomoutforthechill Wed 01-Nov-17 19:30:17

I'm a bit of a novice but come over, patch thread 11 'We bid farewell to rainbow leaves but will keep plotting along for great advice.

Phantomoutforthechill Wed 01-Nov-17 19:33:07

Sorry, Allotment/Veg patch thread 11 'We bid farewell to rainbow leaves but will keep plotting along' I can't seem to link blush

JeNeSuisPasVotreMiel Wed 01-Nov-17 19:38:59

Stop using weedkiller now, you don't need it and nor does the planet.

Cover the entire area with hessian backed carpet (not rubber backed as the biodegration of it will poison your plot).

Put this down now and leave it all winter. When you take it up, perennial roots will have made their way to the surface and will be easier to remove.

Work with a garden fork, not a spade, as you don't want to chop up any lurking roots.

I don't rule out the use of weedkiller entirely as sometimes it is useful to spot weed onto cut bramble stems.

But I think you can clear the plot more easily than you think.

Cedar03 Thu 02-Nov-17 11:41:21

Do join in the allotment thread. There are lots of us with plots in varying stages of organisation. Don't worry too much about the weeds. It is disheartening when they start growing back but now the weather is growing colder you do have time to actually stop them for now. Dig out manually, trying to get as much as you can but don't worry too much if you miss a bit - I think with gardening you have to be realistic about accepting a few weeds round and about.

If you can't get hold of carpet then look out for plain cardboard boxes or black tarpaulin as they do the job as well. Take it slow and steady and clear a patch at a time. Keep as much covered as you can. Things like couch grass will always be a bit of a pest but you can live with/work round lots of things anyway - once you have cleared the worst then regular weeding throughout the growing season will keep most weeds in check.

dreamingofsun Thu 02-Nov-17 11:58:08

google no dig charles dowding and read some of his posts/articles. it sounds as if the suff you put down to suppress the weeds wasnt thick enough. I have heavy duty black plastic i put on my unused areas of plot for the winter with heavy things on top to stop the gales blowing them away. this stops any weeds growing

sizenines Thu 02-Nov-17 12:12:08

IIWM I would dig over the soil and use a sieve. You can get a cheap plastic one for a £ or two, and the idea is that it traps at least some of the weed roots lurking in the soil.

Also, boiling water, if you have access to it on the allotment, doesn't harm the ecosystem and can be applied directly to the plant you hate and it might kill it.

At the end of the day weeding is a constant thing if you have fertile soil, so try to love it smile

Aquiver Thu 02-Nov-17 15:49:29

Thanks all for your advice so far.

I actually did start my post in the allotment thread, but then got a bit worried about crashing the thread with my stupid newbie questions! I’ll pop over to the thread as and when smile

I would actually prefer not to use weed killer - I’ll try and hunt down some good hessian backed carpet remnants or cardboard. I do have some weed cover fabric stuff, so will use a combination of both.

WhoKn0wsWhereTheSlimeGoes Thu 02-Nov-17 16:00:57

Don't worry about being a newbie on the thread, it's very welcoming, I crash in and out randomly smile.

We are specifically banned from using carpet on our site, people have abandoned plots with carpet infested with weeds in the past and it's a bugger to remove. I prefer cardboard, preferably covered in a heavy layer of compost to weigh it down and allow it to rot ftom both sides. Or heavy-duty black membrane, but it needs to be really well secured all round (planks are good) to keep the light out and stop it blowing away. I've had my plot for 4 years, the battle with couch grass is never ending but worth the effort.

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