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By Jvt

Warwickshire, United Kingdom Gb

In less than a week i will be the proud but terrified tenant of an allotment.
Having very little experience other than a small raised bed in my garden, what advice can you give as the thought of having to turn this patch of waste land into something spectacular, although exciting is filling me with horror. It's a bit of a wilderness.



As a first step dig it over well and get rid of any perennial weeds and things like brambles. When we took over the area of ground we grow vegetables on it was full of weeds - docks standing 2 - 3 foot high all of which had to be dug out. Then dig in some well rotted compost or manure and leave to sit over winter. Hoe off any weeds as they appear. Next spring you will be able to start growing your veggies.

14 Oct, 2012


Great news to get your allotment I got my first half one last Feb and the second adjoining half in July due to the tenant giving up. The big job is going to dig the weeds out we found it easier to split the ground up into separate beds with canes and string and work on one bed at a time also try to find what the previous tenant grew there so you can plan some sort of crop rotation. Get to know the other tenants they are a great source of information and they will be able to tell you what grow well and what does not I found out that for some strange reason nobody seem to be able to grow red onions or they do not do well on our site . Get a shed ask around I got mine for free these are so useful also consider a Polly tunnel so you can start sowing seeds earlier than outdoors and you can also grow cucumbers, tomatoes, and melons in summer inside. When you start to plan and dig you could also get some onion sets and garlic planted now wilkos have them but just remember that these will be in the ground until around Jul/Aug.

Have a look at my blogs about my allotment

14 Oct, 2012


hi there
glad you are going into a allotment i just hope you have plenty of time on your hands i had to give mine up because of work commitments, it is great fun at the end of the season you stand back and look and say i grew that and be proud of it, take a look around the place see what the others are growing it gives you an idea once you have dug it over put spuds in it is a good way of breaking the soil down. best of luck don't do it all at once take your time it can be back breaking when you first start off.

14 Oct, 2012


Welcome to allotmenteering!

I agree with what the others have said, and in my opinion you couldn't have got it at a better time!

It will give you a chance to get it prepared for next season.

I am a great believer in ' Winter Digging' I have been doing this for the last couple of weeks ( Having a day off today)

As an old hand at this game (30+years) I think the best two pieces of advice I could give you is; be patient and always prepare your soil well!

I was always taught; the secret to good growing is in the soil, and if you get that right, you are more than 50% there to getting good results!

In other words to use an old Yorkshire expression;

Nout in nout out!

I have written an article for beginners which might be helpful to you and it is here;

If you read this and it's related links then you wil know as much as I do! ;o)

So the best of luck with your venture and if in doubt cry out and I am sure someone here at Goy will be able to help you!

14 Oct, 2012


Teegee, Wag and Stevie i really appreciate you taking the time to answer, thank you.
I am lucky as the plot isn't as overgrown as some on the site, but there does appear to be lots of brambles and weeds but nothing too severe. Since posting the question on here i have spoken to the letting officer who has told me that as long as i have it looking decent within a couple of years he will be happy.
Would i have to dig up the entire roots of brambles? I bet they go on down for miles don't they?
Should i compost everything i dig up which is green or burn it? I wouldn't know one weed from the next at the moment. I have been told i can burn stuff but never done that before either. Oh what a lot to learn.
Thanks all again.
Kind regards, John

14 Oct, 2012


Quote; Would i have to dig up the entire roots of brambles?

Reply; Ideally yes!

Quote;I bet they go on down for miles don't they?

Reply; Yes! Usually quite a bit, but I have found that the are relatively shallow as some weeds go!

Quote;Should i compost everything i dig up which is green or burn it?

No! is the real answer but it is surprising as to what you can!

This link might help;

Quote;I wouldn't know one weed from the next at the moment.

Reply; If in doubt burn it until you get to know which are the real baddies and which ones are not quite so bad.

A rule of thumb; Perennial weeds are useually classified as baddies, annual weeds are easier to kill/control with a hoe!

Quote;I have been told I can burn stuff but never done that before either.


Common sense is usually the order of the day here, but make sure that the wind is in the right direction so as not to offend any neighbours!

Quote; Oh what a lot to learn.

Reply; If it is any consolation I am still learning too!

There you are you are as knowledgeable as many now

(I base this on the many weedy plots on our site) ;o))

14 Oct, 2012


One suggestion - you don't have to tackle the whole allotment in one season. You could cover one half in black plastic or old carpet for twelve months (which will starve all the weeds of light and kill them) while you get the other half 'under control'

14 Oct, 2012


Thank you all for taking the time to answer. I really appreciate all of your advice.

Kind regards, John

15 Oct, 2012

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