Am I doing things all wrong?

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Jilllrabbitslim

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Am I doing things all wrong?
« on: May 05, 2008, 21:35 »
I have been lucky enough to be allowed to plant a few bits on the end of someone elses plot at my local allotment site. The couple who work it are using approx half of the plot for their own bits and bobs and last worked the piece I am using about 2 years ago.

It is pretty much covered with various weeds (couch grass, nettles, docks, bindweed, etc) so what I've done is cut rough beds into the existing weedy ground and started chucking things in. The long term plan is to build some raised beds.

I have been stripping the top surface off to a depth of 6 inches or so, digging out the deep rooted weeds (docks etc) digging over whats left, incorporating some well rotted manure and planting into that.

My question is, what's the likelyhood of my stuff growing under those circumstances? It's damn hard work and I don't want to be doing all the graft without a bit of reward at the end of it.

Thanks to this site I think I have picked things to grow which are pretty much a given, beetroot and Swiss chard, both from seed sown straight into the ground. Mange tout which I sowed in pots at home and transplanted and finally a row of potatoes which I bought pre-chitted from the garden centre. I've also got lots more growing in pots at home, tomatoes, artichokes, beans and peas etc.

Apologies for the long ramble and thanks in advance for any replies :-)

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noshed

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Am I doing things all wrong?
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2008, 21:42 »
Sounds OK JRS
You will get a load of weeds regrowing but don't worry - hoe them out as they grow. Plant what you like eating and see how you go. Spuds are good and soft fruit - rasberries etc are many times better than what you can buy in the shops.
Self-sufficient in rasberries and bindweed. Slug pellets can be handy.

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gobs

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Am I doing things all wrong?
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2008, 21:46 »
Stripping is dodgy - however weedy and hard it is, you don't really want to lose much top soil, if you can help it.
"Words... I know exactly what words I'm wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiff-squiddled around." R Dahl

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Jilllrabbitslim

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Am I doing things all wrong?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2008, 21:52 »
Thanks both.

noshed - I was thinking of getting some soft fruit bushes (or is it canes?) I *think* a freind of my parents has a few blackcurrant bushes that need a new home so I shall try to help out there ;-)

gobs - I am digging out a 6inch deep clod and then bashing off the nice top soil and chucking it back in the hole before slinging the weedy mess that's left onto the cr*p  pile!

that's why its shuch hard work I thing :-D

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woodburner

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Am I doing things all wrong?
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2008, 22:25 »
For what you're doing I'd use a fork rather than a spade.
Keep the "cr*p" dark and damp and the weeds will rot and make nice crumbly soil that you can put back possibly even this autumn, depending on the type of weeds in there.
I demand the right to buy seed of varieties that are not "distinct, uniform and stable".

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Jilllrabbitslim

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Am I doing things all wrong?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2008, 22:36 »
Thanks woodburner, I'm using an combintion of both, sectioning off the clods with a spade (cutting it a bit like a slab of cake or similar!) and then forking the clods out.

I've turned the weedy chunks upside down (so the worst of the weeds are facing the ground) and left it in a pile but should I cover it with something to keep it dark and damp as you suggest?

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woodburner

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Am I doing things all wrong?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2008, 23:12 »
The weeds that are well buried will probably die anyway but keeping it dark prevents the weeds that make it to the surface from getting any light, so they die too.
I once covered a pile of turf with black plastic; the grass died OK, but it was so dry as a result that the remains didn't rot!

Bob Flowerdew has an interesting method that I have yet to try on weedy ground. Basically, digging out paths and chucking the soil onto the bed to raise it. I'm not sure off the top of my head what he did about the weeds though.

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Jilllrabbitslim

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Am I doing things all wrong?
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2008, 19:27 »
Hmm, interesting, perhaps if I try the black plastic over the heap and wet it down every-so-often with the hose?

Ah I dunno, I'll give it a try and see how I get on :-)

Thanks again all.



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