New allotment

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Seagull

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New allotment
« on: October 15, 2020, 17:52 »
Hello - I have just taken over my first allotment, and am a complete novice.

I have started preparing/digging the soil, which is currently covered with all kinds of weeds, and about six inches under the surface is a black fabric.  I dont know that its everywhere, but it seems quite widespread.  I am guessing that this was originally put down to suppress weeds, but now the weeds are just growing on top of it.  Do I need to remove this?  Does it ever rot down?

Any other suggestions for a new allotment would be much appreciated.

Many thanks for any suggestions or help.
Black fabric.jpg

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mumofstig

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Re: New allotment
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2020, 17:57 »
That's bad news, hopefully it will only be over certain areas rather than a full plot covering, because it doesn't rot down  :(
One of the plotholders here found that weedkilling the weeds on top with glyphosate, made it easier to lift the fabric. So that might be worth a try.
Lesley x
I'm not good, I'm not bad - I'm just me, and sometimes I have to apologise for that ;)

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CHRISDONOHUE

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Re: New allotment
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2020, 00:47 »
What you do depends very much on whether the weeds are simply growing on top of the fabric (in which case you gently scrape them off with a hoe or spade) or whether some have grown through the fabric.   If it is simply weed suppressing fabric, the previous tenant has gifted you a valuable material.   You can then use it either at the end of the season to cover your allotment or during the season as a ground cover in which you can burn holes at set places in order to plant crops (for example, strawberry plants but also brassicas) in order to minimise weeding and provide a permanent mulch.   If weeds have grown through the fabric, you need to attack it from the side with a fork or spade horizontally to cut through any weed roots which have come through the fabric.   Either way, the fabric will have killed lots of weeds underneath it.   I would be delighted to have taken over an allotment like yours.   I would not use glyphosate: it is both expensive and is thought to be dangerous to health and should not be necessary.

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CHRISDONOHUE

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Re: New allotment
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2020, 00:54 »
If you are a complete novice, ask one of the tenants near you for advice and to demonstrate to you how to remove the weeds easily.   Most tenants will be only too glad to help you and show you what to do.   They can also tell you when and how to grow the crops you want to grow.

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Blewit

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Re: New allotment
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2020, 07:37 »
Hi Seagull and congratulations on getting your allotment. Whichever way you choose to tackle your plot be sure to take lots of photos. At some point you might feel you're not getting on fast enough but when you look back at the pictures you'll realise just how far you've come.

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New shoot

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Re: New allotment
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2020, 08:19 »
Hi Seagull and welcome to the forum  :)

Black weed fabric 6 inches under the surface is a bit of a pain.  If it was on the surface it might be the case that weeds were just perched on top and could be scraped aside. It might not be so easy if there is a good layer of debris accumulated over it.

I would suggest trying a few test areas and see how you go. The weed fabric may start disintegrating as you try and get it up.  The older it is, the more fragile it becomes.

Dont discount weed killers. Most of us on allotment sites have seen plenty of newbies come and go because they have done so and found the initial clearance too back breaking to make them want to continue.  Used properly they have their place  :)

Here is a link to an article by the site owner John. There are a wealth of other articles on the main site you might find useful and of course you can ask questions in here for more help.

https://www.allotment-garden.org/allotment-information/clearing-new-allotment/
« Last Edit: October 16, 2020, 08:27 by New shoot »



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