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New growing opportunities

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Twood

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New growing opportunities
« on: February 05, 2019, 15:58 »
Hello
I have recently moved into a house with a garden decent enough to grow veg. looking forward to the challenge and am truly grateful to the previous incumbent for leaving me an old and well used greenhouse which is full of rubbish but I'm sure with a little TLC will be useable again :D.
Currently all turf and not sure whether to treat as an allotment and rotovate the whole lot. Remove the turf and dig over or try no dig which John doesn't seem that keen on but does have short term bonuses.
Have probably bought way too many seeds this year (thanks John for the seeds with the book  :) ) but am keen to get started.
Any tips gratefully received
Anne

off to post in the greenhouse section my door has lost its wheels!
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Happy Gardening May your plot be abundant in veg and free from slugs ! :)

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snowdrops

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Re: New growing opportunities
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2019, 18:54 »
I turned fully to no dig last year & really wish Iíd done it sooner, the only issue is the amount of composted mulch you need to acquire,but if you start small it is achievable, check out Charles Dowding who is the main promoter of it here in the UK. Collect lots of cardboard & cover the ground with that to exclude light from getting to your grass areas, cover as much as you can with your composted mulch & what you canít mulch but down a weed membrane & peg down well. Then roll it back as you get more mulch, ready to plant in. Trowel out perennial weeds or dig out brambles etc first. Strip the grass if itís longer than an inch or 2, in the first instance.
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John

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Re: New growing opportunities
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2019, 23:38 »
A somewhat more objective approach to the discussion on digging
https://www.allotment-garden.org/garden-diary/6132/no-dig-gardening-vs-digging/

There's a big difference between no-dig on a deep topsoil that has been worked for years and on a virgin plot. Still, I lack the zeal of the convert. :)
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snowdrops

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Re: New growing opportunities
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2019, 00:15 »
A somewhat more objective approach to the discussion on digging
https://www.allotment-garden.org/garden-diary/6132/no-dig-gardening-vs-digging/

There's a big difference between no-dig on a deep topsoil that has been worked for years and on a virgin plot. Still, I lack the zeal of the convert. :)

Original post asked for tips & that is what I & Veg plot gave. Charles Dowding has done trials on dig v no dig for a great number of years. The forum is built up of members discussing options mainly based on their personal experiences. Iím sure there will be others along shortly who advise other ways of tackling your issues.

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Twood

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Re: New growing opportunities
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2019, 16:05 »
Thanks for everyones input on this
Clearly pros and cons so I may dig over a patch and see what the soil is like underneath first
Cheers  :D :D

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New shoot

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Re: New growing opportunities
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2019, 09:22 »
I think a test dig would be the way I would go as well.  The ground under established lawn can be a compacted, pretty lifeless place. 

You could make raised beds on top, but they would need to be fairly deep.  The soil underneath would slowly improve, but I agree with John that no-dig on virgin soil is very different to that on worked soil.  Do-able, but very different.

Rotovate and convert some to no dig beds and some to ground you dig is an option.  You don't have to be completely one or the other.  I dig some bits of my clay soil plot, dig and cover with compost mulches, grow green manure on bits and have established fruit areas which get mulched with whatever I have to hand - often bark chips from the chicken run once I have replaced them, or composted wood shavings from the coop.  It all works :)

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sunshineband

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Re: New growing opportunities
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2019, 09:50 »
Defiantly No dig way to go...

I do love the way that sometimes predictive text actually gives you a sensible meaning you weren't expecting... defiantly, now that's the way to go!!  :lol: :lol:

All joking aside, I agree with New Shoot's advice to dig  a test hole first, as then you can see what kind of soil is down there, as this may well colour how you move forward

To add to this (from one of the varied personal opinions John mentioned!) I found that covering areas not in cultivation with a light proof landscape membrane weighted down so it did not blow away, led to almost all weeds and grass dying out over a period of about a year, allowing us to dig and aerate that area easily.


The other things which may not immediately be obvious is this: work out how you'd like to organise your growing areas ie are you having  raised beds of a somewhat traditional size of just over a metre wide, or long narrow beds, larger rectangular area? Whatever it is, if you mark this out (and change it until you are happy)then you will know where the oaths are going.... and don't dig the paths, as it is a waste of energy, or mulch those areas  as it is unnecessary It also means you can plan how you will walk about... is there a straight route to the compost bins from your door, for example?

Our first plot is a meandering potager, filled in the Summer with a lovely mix of flowers, fruit and vegetables. Our second is a series of beds in a grid design of sets of four beds,? and in the Summer is filled with a mix as before, and looks good. Guess which is the easiest to manage in terms of access, and crop rotation?

I hope this info helps provide some thinking points for you, to go alongside plannign any particualr growing styles
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Veg Plot 1B

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Re: New growing opportunities
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2019, 12:27 »
"Defiantly" Oops...

No dig is not all easy, like yesterday I moved 48 off 90 litre buckets worth onto a 5 metre square. Was a lovely day to do though, unlike today.

Something else to consider you can walk on the compost and it is does not stick to you boots unlike dirt.

"Have probably bought way too many seeds this year (thanks John for the seeds with the book   ) but am keen to get started."

I think you will be able plant quicker with no dig.


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Twood

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Re: New growing opportunities
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2019, 19:46 »
Hi
thanks everyone for the varied responses to my query.
Having dug a test patch It looks like I have really nice friable soil - lucky I know and I feel blessed given that my last allotment site was solid wet clay. and I'm aware lots of people struggle with the same sort of plots

Ive marked out the beds and cheated by borrowing a turf lifter. I'll be cutting the turf but leaving in place and lifting as I get around to digging it over and adding manure. So the turf will be stacked and for now it will raise the level of my compost bin which is in an area that floods ( how come this never happens when you view the house  :D)
Hopefully a dry weekend to get stuck in to a few jobs!!  :)

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sunshineband

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Re: New growing opportunities
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2019, 08:47 »
A turf lifter sounds fantastic! Unless you have huge perennial weeds, you can always put the turf grass side down in the bottom of your beds. WE did this at a school I used to work at, and it worked really well.

I kno you thought of stacking them to put your compost bin on top, but as they rot, they may well become uneven and tip your bin over, especially if that ground gets very wet/flooded sometimes

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John

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Re: New growing opportunities
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2019, 10:49 »
If you just stack the turf upside down and pop a tarp over (water as needed) it should have turned into a lovely loam in a year. Traditionally, when breaking new ground the turf went at the bottom of the trench to supply nutrients to the crop above.

Since you've a good soil under you could stack the turf and use a no-dig method although I'd open the soil by rocking a fork as I'd expect it to be compressed.


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Twood

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Re: New growing opportunities
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2019, 13:48 »
Hi
thanks for the replies.
The stacked turf is a short term option at the moment so that I'm not standing ankle deep in water when it rains whilst trying to get to the compost bin. eventually I'll move the bin but as with life it is dependent on a series of other events taking place first.
I could no dig but now I've gone down this road and ordered a tonne bag of horse/mushroom/chicken compost I'll probably dig over some of the beds and incorporate the manure and see where that gets me.

I really need to come up with a plan for the plot which I haven't yet and will be in grave danger of it all being a bit of a muddle.
Wish me luck!

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John

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Re: New growing opportunities
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2019, 14:24 »
Hope you have better luck with your plans than I have with most of mine! Good luck and let us know how you're getting along.

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Twood

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Re: New growing opportunities
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2019, 18:14 »
thanks John
Garlic in so i'm on my way :D

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sunshineband

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Re: New growing opportunities
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2019, 09:06 »
Always good to have something growing in the ground  :D :D



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