New allotment -plenty of bricks where's my soil?!!

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Odders

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New allotment -plenty of bricks where's my soil?!!
« on: January 18, 2023, 23:31 »
After a 4 year wait, I was finally allocated one of the 'mini allotments (Roughly 80mē)' owned by my town council.
Initial impression was good: locked access behind a 7' galvanised paling fence with a stand pipe within hose distance & a clear, SSW long axis.
Soil looked good where exposed but covered in weeds, including twitch & dockins, indicating long term non use.
Today I decided to level off the area where I intend to put my 10x20 polytunnel & had an unpleasant discovery; there's maybe a foot of topsoil at the edge of the plot but anywhere more than 2' in from the edge has about 4" at best, with what appears to be hardcore underneath!
Now I know why all the other occupied plots use raised beds.
That's not how I grow though but luckily, one of the farms I do pest control for has a big heap of nice topsoil going spare from the big new cowshed he's had put up.
Looks like my pickup will be earning its fuel bringing about 6 tons over to rectify the problem.
Ho-hum, more exercise for me too - shovel in, shovel out, wheelbarrow 50yds to plot then spread... ::)

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Christine

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Re: New allotment -plenty of brickswhere's my soil?!!
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2023, 09:54 »
Yes have taken on a plot (the full 10 rod item) before now when the waiting lists were short. The previous tenant had done a huge amount of brick clearing from old buildings and previous tenant using the plot as a debris storage. It was no fun getting rid of another quantity from the site. The tenant who took over has visited the tip with his big vehicle and removed many more and thinks he has solved the problem. Some five years in the clearing though to make a good plot.

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AndyRVTR

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Re: New allotment -plenty of brickswhere's my soil?!!
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2023, 11:08 »
I think we've all been there at one time or another... clearing other peoples rubbish.. but its worth it in the end!

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Odders

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Re: New allotment -plenty of brickswhere's my soil?!!
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2023, 00:18 »
I think we've all been there at one time or another... clearing other peoples rubbish.. but its worth it in the end!

Yep.
Bricks will be used for a path base up the side (soil moved to help elsewhere) & the hardcore subsurface will take some cutting into for the polytunnel anchor plates but I doubt they'll ever move...
Looking forward to the challenge.


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Subversive_plot

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Re: New allotment -plenty of bricks where's my soil?!!
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2023, 18:07 »
If you expect you will be excavating a lot of brick in the long term, I recommend investing in a digging bar for excavating the unwanted brick etc.  There are several styles, but they usually have a blunt chisel digging blade on one end of a 6 foot heavy steel bar, and are blunt at the other end.
Gardening is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing.

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Christine

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Re: New allotment -plenty of bricks where's my soil?!!
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2023, 19:02 »
Sturdy minions to help with the labour are also very useful in these situations.  :lol:

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Subversive_plot

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Re: New allotment -plenty of bricks where's my soil?!!
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2023, 23:09 »
Most of the time, I'm usually as close as we get to having a "sturdy minion"!

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Odders

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Re: New allotment -plenty of bricks where's my soil?!!
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2023, 23:24 »
If you expect you will be excavating a lot of brick in the long term, I recommend investing in a digging bar for excavating the unwanted brick etc.  There are several styles, but they usually have a blunt chisel digging blade on one end of a 6 foot heavy steel bar, and are blunt at the other end.

I think I'm pretty much clear of bricks (these belonged to the previous tenant, rather than historically present).
Trouble is, the site's a former spoil heap from iron ore mining & when the site was turned into allotments 20 or more years ago, the quarry waste used to seal the spoil was just flattened & insufficient soil put on top (council ripped off by whoever did the work...).
I do indeed have one of those bars in my armoury, along with post hole tongs which will come in handy for setting the polytunnnel anchor plates.
Today's effort saw the top layer of weeds cleared off the rest of the polytunnel area & thankfully, an increase in soil depth, now up around 6-8".
It'll be closer to a foot once I've added the soil from elsewhere.
Plan is to start putting the tunnel up next week by getting the anchor plates & tubes carefully positioned & levelled & the hoops & bars installed.
Getting the cover on, doors installed, etc. on the Sunday/Monday after.
6 ton of topsoil & 3 ton of green waste compost coming later in February.
I really should be taking photo's...

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Odders

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Re: New allotment -plenty of bricks where's my soil?!!
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2023, 23:34 »
Sturdy minions to help with the labour are also very useful in these situations.  :lol:

I've found that Yetis are far superior (I have a friend who has been known as 'Yeti' & answers to that name for so long nobody remembers he's called Alan [or is it Andrew...] any more).
He'll be powering a wheelbarrow in a week or two...

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snowdrops

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Re: New allotment -plenty of bricks where's my soil?!!
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2023, 10:37 »
If you expect you will be excavating a lot of brick in the long term, I recommend investing in a digging bar for excavating the unwanted brick etc.  There are several styles, but they usually have a blunt chisel digging blade on one end of a 6 foot heavy steel bar, and are blunt at the other end.

I think I'm pretty much clear of bricks (these belonged to the previous tenant, rather than historically present).
Trouble is, the site's a former spoil heap from iron ore mining & when the site was turned into allotments 20 or more years ago, the quarry waste used to seal the spoil was just flattened & insufficient soil put on top (council ripped off by whoever did the work...).
I do indeed have one of those bars in my armoury, along with post hole tongs which will come in handy for setting the polytunnnel anchor plates.
Today's effort saw the top layer of weeds cleared off the rest of the polytunnel area & thankfully, an increase in soil depth, now up around 6-8".
It'll be closer to a foot once I've added the soil from elsewhere.
Plan is to start putting the tunnel up next week by getting the anchor plates & tubes carefully positioned & levelled & the hoops & bars installed.
Getting the cover on, doors installed, etc. on the Sunday/Monday after.
6 ton of topsoil & 3 ton of green waste compost coming later in February.
I really should be taking photo's...

When I had my poly tunnel 2 years ago from First Tunnels, hubby & I installed it with scaffold boards at the base that the aluminium base rails sit on as I was concerned I might puncture the cover if it went to the ground. It might be an option for you to further increase the soil depth. You could always edge the paths in there also with boards to retain the soil & give you greater depth.
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