The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

United Kingdom Gb

We have just taken over a very overgrown allotment, is it better to blitz the lot with roundup and strim and rotivate or is it best to hand pull all the grass, weeds, nettles, brambles etc? thank you



I suggest, if you have some, is cover the plot over with some old carpet or a tarpaulin for the winter, put some stones on top to weight it down, then get digging come the spring and add compost & manure etc. to get it ready for planting up when the weather warms.

17 Sep, 2011


I realise this does not answer your question, but perhaps it is worth checking your allotment rules about the use of weedkiller? It can be an issue with some groups.

17 Sep, 2011


Some allotment sites do not allow carpet to be laid, Millie, and I would never advise rotavating as the weeds, especially Bindweed, will simply be chopped into smaller pieces, ready to spread even further! We took on an overgrown plot in April/May this year, dug each section over, removed Docks, Nettles, Bindweed etc. and have harvested crops only this week. Hard work, but necessary I think! If you type 'Allotments' into the Google custom search box (top right of the page) you will see many useful ideas for clearing a plot. Good luck!

17 Sep, 2011


Lucky you Millie.......Do it by hand, hard slog but at least you earn your plot..

Jealous me.

17 Sep, 2011


If your allotments allow you to cover the ground and if you know any farmers you might be able to cadge some heavy black plastic of the sort they wrap haylege in - this is really good for the job. It may take longer than one winter to kill stuff like brambles but it does save a lot of work. Best to cut down the high stuff first.

You can then just dig a bit at a time properly as you have the energy instead of trying to do it all at once. (That's what I did anyway!)

17 Sep, 2011


I dig as much as possible now so that the soil is exposed to the weather over winter. When Bulba and I took over the new vegetable area in August 2009 it had not been touched in years and was waist high in perennial weeds and brambles. Bulba managed to get it all dug and cleared before winter and dug a lot of good compost in. We were able to start growing in the spring of 2010.

18 Sep, 2011


Bulba has an impressive amount of energy!

18 Sep, 2011


Yes he does... and, realistically, this is the time to get any area you want to grow veggies in next year dug over. Digging over the hole plot only has to happen once if you do it properly. I still have huge concerns at covering the soil for 6 months or more to try to kill off weeds that it will a) sour the soil and, more importantly b) mean that the helpful beasties like worms leg it!

18 Sep, 2011


I agree MG...and weed killers may have been added umpteen times before. Not what you want for things that you will eat. Hard work for a few weeks pays dividends in the end.

You are going to have this plot for years, a little backache is worth it.

18 Sep, 2011


Mine was a virgin field which had been grass for years when I took it on - "kindly" made available to us by the council when they turned us off our old ones for building. (which never happened...)

There was no problem with souring or shortage of worms as it was well dug over and manured bit by bit as it was uncovered again. I had some wonderful currants and gooseberries, much better than I've had since, and was sad to have to leave them when we moved. Sigh...

19 Sep, 2011

How do I say thanks?

Answer question


Not found an answer?