Hello from a new allotment gardener

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Losttheplot

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Hello from a new allotment gardener
« on: September 14, 2006, 14:38 »
Hi All
I have recentley accquired a plot and don't know where to start.  My friend and I are sharing the plot and we are just slowly starting to dig it over as it is completley covered in weeds! Arrrgghh!  I have a feeling of despair at the moment that it will never look like some of the perfect plots surrounding it!  Has everyone else had these feelings??  Where do you start and how long does it take to clear a plot??  Just need some reassurance and advice of what to do!!!!

Also we have loads and loads of comfrey plants dotted around the place which I hear can be made in to an excellent fertilizer.  How is the best way to do this and does anyone recommend having a dedicated patch for comfrey?
I have so many questions to ask and I have got a couple of books and have been on internet but it is nice to get info from the experts out  there!!!   8)
Hayles.xxx

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GrannieAnnie

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Hello from a new allotment gardener
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2006, 16:35 »
Hi LTP, welcome to the madhouse!!!! lol.  We are not all experts, but you'll find that all of us will try to help if we can.

Comfrey is best in one patch if you can, but it can be invasive, hence hard to get into one place if yours is all over!  You'll dig it all up, then those little tiy bits of root you missed will all come up again, and again, and again!!!!lol.

But comfrey is a brilliant fertilizer, especially liquid.  I just cut it down when the flowers fade, and put it into a big tub (at the moment, here I only have a bucket, but I have just got hold of an old water tank from a friend's attic, so I'm going to use that.  Stick the comfrey in, fill with water, and after a few weeks, you get a foul smell, but lovely liquid fertilier which I think should be diluted about 1:20.

OR, you can chuck it on your compost heap as a good activator, or put in directly on your plot, or use it to line trenches when you are planting things like potatoes.

John has a brilliant article on comfrey here:

http://www.allotment-garden.org/vegetables_and_herbs/Comfrey_The_Wonder_Plant.php

As to getting rid of all those weeds!!!! Well, we all know about them!  Just do it a bit at a time, there are lots of ways to do it.  One year OH and I just rotavated the whole lot of my plot (its my garen though, not an allotment!) but of course, tht chopped up all the roots of the docks and nettles etc, then the next year we did it bit by bit, and by the end of it, the weeds that we'd just left were HUGE!!  So this year, I covered everything in black plastic and moved a bit back adn dug that bit, then moved another bit back and dug that bit, till it was all dug.  A bit was rotavated, but only after we'd got all the perennial weeds out first.

also, most of my potatoes this year I grew under plastic, making little crosses in the plastic and planting my potatoes through that into the ground.  Worked well with keeping the weeds off, but something under there kept eating my spuds!!!!!!  so next year I'll maybe plant normally, but make sure I mulch better!

Good luck, and don't be despondent, we all get that sometimes!!!!

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noshed

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Hello from a new allotment gardener
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2006, 16:42 »
Sadly, you have jolted a non-expert into life but I expect someone sensible will reply as well.
I imagine your plot has quite tall weeds on it so it does look daunting. But the bloke next to me has just cleared his by chopping down the tallest stuff for the compost heap, then marking out beds with string and pegs and digging them over roughly. It only took him 2 days but it had only been left over the summer.
If you've got loads of perennial weeds it might take longer and you could consider covering some of the beds with cardboard to exclude the light until you get round to digging them.
Really ferocious weeds you could attack with weedkiller - I've used glyphosate but John (this is his site) is an amicide man so he might give you advice on that. He's written an article on clearing a plot I believe, which is on the site.
People tend to advise against rotovating because it spreads the weed roots all over the place but it might be worth doing after you've cleared some beds. I use a giant mattock which I think is brilliant but not everyone's cup of tea. You can see them on get-digging.co.uk.
Comfrey is very useful as a fertilizer - you can just put it on the compost heap, put leaves into planting holes or make comfrey tea - which is the smelliest thing in the world. There's an article about that as well I think. But I just shove some leaves into an onion bag and put it into a bucket of water held down with a brick. Then after a couple of weeks you can dilute it to tea colour and water it over things. Make sure you change your clothes before you go up the pub otherwise people will edge away from you nervously.
In my limited experience if you divide the task up into bits you can manage, you start seeing progress and then your enthusiasm returns.
My plot is covered in weeds at the moment but I started weeding last night and it was quite restful after a day at work. I only managed to do a bit but you can see progress. (I use 4' wide beds so there's never a whole field-full of work to do.)
Anyway, good luck. I have to go and shout at a computer now.
Self-sufficient in rasberries and bindweed. Slug pellets can be handy.

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Losttheplot

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Hello from a new allotment gardener
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2006, 16:47 »
Hi!

That is brilliant!! thanks for all the info!!  I will definately get the old comfrey fertilizer going (if it ever stops raining here!!)  Thanks for article as well.  I have printed it off to keep as a reference and to show my partner in crime.  We are both really excited about our (not so) little plot I think we both want to run before we can walk but I am sure with lots of hard work and determination we will be reaping the benefits this time next year!!
Thanks again!

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greenie

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Hello from a new allotment gardener
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2006, 19:16 »
Hello and good luck with the allotment. I wish I had one!

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John

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Hello from a new allotment gardener
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2006, 09:17 »
Glad my articles have been of some value - it's  a bit weird writing stuff because I obviously think it is OK but  there's always this feeling in the back of my mind that others won't think so.

Amicide versus Glyphosate

Amicide will handle horsetail whereas glyphosate may do after many applications.
Amicide stops the ground being used for 6 - 8 weeks whereas you can plant the next day with glyphosate
Glyphosate is cheaper than amicide by a long chalk.

Bit horses for courses.

greenie - even if you don't have a garden you can grow some crops. A pal of mine has a flat and she grows salad crops in pots on the fire escape outside!

Pot herbs on the window ledge in the kitchen as well.
Check out our books - ideal presents

John and Val Harrison's Books
 

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greenie

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Hello from a new allotment gardener
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2006, 10:44 »
Hi John,

I do own a garden - where I've only just begun growing veg, but the other half likes his lawn so you know how it is (I'm encroaching ever so slowly  :mrgreen: ). The waiting list for allotments here is between 5-8 years!

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GrannieAnnie

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Hello from a new allotment gardener
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2006, 16:57 »
Shame you're not a bit nearer to me greenie!!! I'd let you share my garden, and I think we have allotments in the village available, as there's a notice on the post office noticeboard!!!



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