A few Newbie questions...

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AndyP

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A few Newbie questions...
« on: July 29, 2010, 12:00 »
Hi. I took on an allotment on Sunday with my fiancée (see photo for how it looked on Sunday) and since then I have been down 2 afternoons to start clearing the weeds and a few things have cropped up. So my questions are:

I have been digging up the weeds using a fork and trying to remove all of the plant and roots. I have then been putting the weeds into a giant binbag. I was wondering what I should do with these weeds? I was worried that if I put them in the compost that I'd end up growing weeds in the compost bin or would potentially planting weeds when I come to use the compost? I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to hVe a fire at the allotments, so do I have to just bin all these weeds? Seems like a bit of a waste!?!

I have come across a lot of pieces of broken glass, bits of roof slate and bricks and stones. I discovered the hard way about the broken glass when a piece sliced through my thumb whilst I was pulling up a weed. Since then I have probably found 30 or more pieces of glass in the 4' x 20' section I have cleared so far so I'm guessing I've got a lot more to find. I was wondering what techniques and tips people had for spotting and removing bits of glass from the ground? So far I have just been keeping my eyes peeled and picking them up carefully with gloves on as soon as I spot them.

I've been digging up quite a few large-ish stones (about 2" diameter). I've also found quote a few larger stones and bricks that I have used to hold a tarpaulin down over the bits I have cleared, but I was wondering if there was anything I should hold onto these smaller stones for anything or if I should just chuck them?

I think that's everything I was wondering today. No doubt I'll have some more questions after I go down on Friday!
Thanks!
Andy
http://www.flickr.com/photos/31477732@N00/sets/72157624469279649/
Someone has been dumping soil on my allotment at night. I don't know who it is. The plot thickens.

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littlefarmer

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Re: A few Newbie questions...
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2010, 12:16 »
Hi Andy,

How exciting - a new allotment!
For the weeds, I think you can compost them as long as they have not gone to seed. If they have then I'd be very careful removing them so as not to scatter seed all over the place and bin them.

The glass will be an ongoing problem I think, unless you use a sieve on the soil to pick out the big bits. Be careful though - I find it really easy to become a bit complacent and careless with broken glass, then it bites you!

Not sure if there's a use for stones - I sometimes put them in the bottom of plant pots for a bit of extra drainage...

Like you, I'm just learning about gardening, so I might be talking rubbish!

Hope it all goes well!

Ian
I might be talking rubbish!

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JayG

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Re: A few Newbie questions...
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2010, 13:20 »
Verily littlefarmer, thou speakest with the wisdom of Confucius!

Your local council recycling centre should be able to take your green waste should you feel it's not suitable for composting, and yes; it is all too easy to recycle weed seeds via your compost heap (not to mention various squashes, tomatoes, and potatoes!)

I would concentrate on getting the larger and more obvious sorts of rubble and rubbish out of the plot; if the soil is basically quite stony anyway you will finish up with no hair if you get too obsessed with trying to get them all out as the cycle of rain and frost continually brings new ones to the surface!

Enjoy your new plot!
Sow your seeds, plant your plants. What's the difference? A couple of weeks or more when answering possible queries!

One of the best things about being an orang-utan is the fact that you don't lose your good looks as you get older

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Bluebell007

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Re: A few Newbie questions...
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2010, 19:53 »
HI. Regarding putting weeds in black bin bags; Last Autumn when i was clearing my new plot, I put some weeds into black plastic bags, folded the tops over and then put them into an empty compost bin i had been given. I forgot all about them until the other day when i was going to put the compost bin to use and found the bags in there, The weeds look as though they have turned into lovely compost rich and brown and no signs of any plant life. I think i will dig it into one of the beds this autumn. As for the other 20 plus bags i had i took them to the local dump.  As we are having nice hot weather you could try spreading the weeds out on to a peice of taupaulin or large plastic, they should die in the heat of the sun. Just be mindful if they have gone to seed tho.
Yeterday is history, Tomorrow a mystery Today is a gift.

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Livinhope

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Re: A few Newbie questions...
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2010, 20:23 »
Nice to see you've got on-site facilities ::) ::) ::).

We compost most weeds, as someone said providing they haven't gone to seed, but we steer clear of buttercups, bindweed, couch grass and the perenials.

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Togalosh

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Re: A few Newbie questions...
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2010, 18:16 »
Hiya,

Putting weeds in black bags is good idea I recon - if they are left in the sun it'll get above  60c in there & that will kill any plant life & most viruses. If you 'hot compost' it'll do the same thing..plus you will not stop weeds coming back no matter what you do so compost away.

As for the glass well..so far I've easily picked 4 bucket loads & I still find bits where I've just cleared. I've found out that 'round yer it's customary on giving up your plot to scatter shards all over it (to skip around like Rumple Stiltskin while doing it is not unknown)... Picking it all up again is a right of passage thing for the newbie to go through. :blink:

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AndyP

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Re: A few Newbie questions...
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2010, 20:10 »
Thanks for all the replies guys. It's a real help as I've basically got no idea what I'm doing!!!! I am frantically reading every allotment and 'grow your own' book I can lay my hands on!

I think I'm going to leave my weeds in the binbag they're in as it's pretty damn heavy and I don't fancy emptying it out! Plus it's full of spiky brambles that have already spiked me half to death, so there's no way I'm going to let them get me again!

Luckily I've got a  a good supply of wheelie bin binbags which are nice and big and nice and thick so I'll keep at it!

I'm glad to see that you like my attempt at a portaloo!! It was lying in a pile of rubbish opposite my plot and I desperately needed somewhere to sit and rest whilst digging up weeds so I adopted it as my garden chair!

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Livinhope

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Re: A few Newbie questions...
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2010, 21:54 »
And when you've finished using it to 'sit' on you can plant strawberrys in it, the idea is to look at everything before you throw it away to see if you can put it to good use.  You'll do okay, all the best.

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TheSpartacat

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Re: A few Newbie questions...
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2010, 00:50 »
Congrats on the new plot!! Exciting isnt it? :-D
Yup, like many said, perennials can't be composted, unless you use a hot composter. Its hard to be sure with a regular compost heap whether it will get hot enough to kill the plants. But drying them out should work ok too, especially in this weather.

I've been told that bramble roots will rot down ok if you put them in a barrel of water (though i've got so many that i would need a LOT of barrels, there'd be no room to grow anything lol)

When i started clearing mine, i cut all the nettles first and popped them into a big bin of water to rot down- its an EXCELLENT nitrogen feed!!! Brilliant for your leafy veg, just water at the base of the plants with it. You know its ready to use once it starts to stink something awful.  :wacko:

Glass seems to be ubiquitous on plots... I found whole panes of greenhouse glass spread out about a foot underground in mine.... sigh, why do ppl BURY things!! Of course i didnt know it was there until i put my fork through it, shattering it into a zillion pieces.... also found other bits of greenhouse, shoes, roofing material, HALF a rotted rusting wheelbarrow, and a v large heavy sheet of metal, rusted (no idea what that was)- and I've only dug about quarter of the plot so far- slows you down something serious trying to unearth things- so hopefully glass will be all you find.  (mine was seriously overgrown for 20 yrs+)

BUT, most importantly, what i wanted to say is- part and parcel of turning the soil over, what will happen is that years of seeds that have been waiting for the right conditions to germinate, will do exactly that.
I was getting a but twitchy about making sure i got ALL the bindweed roots out, until i realised... there's hundreds of thousands of bind weed seeds here that i cant see, that will germinate sooner or later.....

*tumbleweed moment*

and then i realised, that theres no reason to get twitchy about missing a few bits of root- things will pop up and they'll be easy spotted and pulled before they get going much so.... theres NO point getting frustrated about it...
Theres a few allotment neighbours of mine who put in all the hard work digging and who got really despondent about that- because they felt they'd "done something wrong"- really expecting it to stay clear for a bit longer. It won't. Its natural.... so just hoe em up when the weeds are young- its all compost anyway :-)

Good luck/ break a root!

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AndyP

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Re: A few Newbie questions...
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2010, 23:29 »
A bit of an update...have put up a new fence, dug up a load more weeds and on Sunday constructed my new shed from Freecycle! I had to buy some new tanalised 3x2s to sit it on as some of the base had rotted, but £19 on timber is a hell of a lot cheaper than a new shed!
I've also built my pallet compost bins and planted comfrey in my toilet!





Right...best get digging up some more weeds!

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Yorkie

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Re: A few Newbie questions...
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2010, 18:09 »
Very impressive, fancy a trip to York?  ;) :lol:
I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days all attack me at once...

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suziet88

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Re: A few Newbie questions...
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2010, 23:19 »
Wow, haven't you done well this week.  Keep it up - it's worth all the digging when you harvest your first veg. :)

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TheSpartacat

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Re: A few Newbie questions...
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2010, 14:04 »
Nice work!! You've been busy!   :)
Thats a pretty high fence! Is that typical of the allotments where you are? Ours don't allow fences, but i woulda thought one that high might create some unwanted shade for you?

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AndyP

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Re: A few Newbie questions...
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2010, 17:03 »
A lot of the plots on my site are fenced in. I guess people like their privacy! I've fenced mine in because I want to be able to take my 2 dogs and not have them going on anyone else's plots. Also the fencing was free so just happened to be that size! The other 3 sides of my plot have herris(?) fencing so they don't create any shade and the wooden fence is onthe west side of my plot so sun has generally dipped below the houses by the time it gets round there anyway. It's also between two shipping containers which cause worse shade! I'm having my shed and compost bins up that end anyway so don't think it'll bother me. I hoping to lay a small piece of turf for the dogs up that end too.

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TheSpartacat

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Re: A few Newbie questions...
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2010, 00:31 »
Nice idea!!!



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