Newbie with questions!!

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ClareyB

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Newbie with questions!!
« on: December 31, 2012, 20:29 »
Hi everyone

So we have just got our first allotment a few weeks ago!

We have decided to add raised beds, mainly because we have two young children so it will help stop them jumping around all over the place! Hubby started constructing the bed yesterday in our garden to then transport to the allotment (will be 9 foot by 4 foot). We have also obtained an old pallet and have some old cot sides to construct a compost bin.

Now I have a few questions:

Once we have weeded and dug the first bed, I have read that it would be a good idea to cover it over in order to warm it up ready for seeds in the spring. We have a role of weed suppressant fabric already but I have also read polythene is a good idea. So what is best?

I also know we will probably need to top up the bed with soil/compost. What is the best bags of compost to use and best value? Is it just a case of picking up a few bags of compost from one of the large DIY stores?

Thank you in advance

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solway cropper

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Re: Newbie with questions!!
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2012, 21:36 »
The best compost is the stuff you make yourself but as you've just started you won't have any  :ohmy:

I'd be inclined to get the cheapest multi purpose you can find and mix it with your plot soil to fill the beds. A good general purpose fertilizer would also help at sowing/planting time.

Ask other plot holders and see if they know of a source of uncontaminated manure or other organic matter you could add.


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mumofstig

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Re: Newbie with questions!!
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2012, 21:55 »
As long as the soil is ok then don't worry about filling them up this year, just grow within the wooden frames.
Over the years they will gradually fill up as you add your home made compost each year - and digging alone raises the soil level by a couple of inches ;)

Any cover is worth adding a few weeks before you want to sow to warm the soil up, but for now I'd leave the dug soil open for wind, rain and frost to weather the dug topsoil to a nice consistency and so the birds can eat slugs and snails and other undesirables.
Lesley x
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Tom Hill

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Re: Newbie with questions!!
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2013, 09:02 »
Do birds actually eat slugs ?
Sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut and be suspected of knowing nothing than opening it and proving it.

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DD.

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Re: Newbie with questions!!
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2013, 09:10 »
Indeed yes. That's why you must be careful with the use of slug pellets.

I only use them under netting where birds can't get at the dead slugs.

They absolutely love the eggs - a good reason for digging the soil over.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 09:11 by DD. »
Did it really tell you to do THAT on the packet?

Seeds are SOWN, planting's for plants (and bulbs & tubers)!

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fatcat1955

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Re: Newbie with questions!!
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2013, 09:32 »
Black polythene or weed fabric is best for soil as warming as the heat is trapped by the dark colour rather than reflected by the lighter coloured materials. Thrushes absolutely love slugs and snails.

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Peas let my pumpkins grow

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Re: Newbie with questions!!
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2013, 18:28 »
I'm a bit worried about my birds now...I put out seeds to encourage them onto my plot but I used some cheap slug pellets I got on offer too :wub:

My gran washes her egg shells and crushes them and sprinkles around whatever she wants to protect. Does anyone know if this works? I know she doesn't have slug problems but she also likes going out in her slippers with a torch and a few of the ducks of an evening and picks them up by hand  :) I'm a bit far from the plot to be popping over in my nightie! :D

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sunshineband

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Re: Newbie with questions!!
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2013, 18:42 »
Hi clarey and welcome

Going back to the point that MoS made earlier about not worrying about filling up your beds straight away -- when we got our current plot nearly three years ago, the soil was so stony that when we had taken out all the bigguns, our soil in the beds was below the level of the paths  :lol: :lol:

Now almost all of them are nicely full, thanks to the gradual addition of masses of home made compost, some cheap supermarket end-of-season deals for commercial compost and a small amount of manure.

As long as you can reach over each bed to avoid walking on the soil, it will not compact (unless you want it to be firm for cabbages though) and will be just fine
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ClareyB

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Re: Newbie with questions!!
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2013, 08:09 »
Thanks everyone for your replies



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