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wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14955
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 18 9:07 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

COVER THE SOIL! all of the time. Never, ever leave it bare. It sprouts weeds in seconds. It matter less what you cover it with, so long as it keeps the light out.

My preference is proper, woven weed suppressing membrane. I cover the beds all winter with it, and then when it’s time to plant I cover the gaps around/between plants with grass cuttings or bark chippings as I plant the beds up, which I renew as available. At the end of the season I cover with alpaca/chicken/guinea pig bedding/compost (also as available) and then with WSM again, leaving lovey, crumbly, fertile soil to plant straight into. If you are religious about it, it will nearly eliminate weeding, making your gardening about pleasurable planting and less back breaking digging or 'preparing' of beds, which is tedious when you want to get stuff in the ground.

Also, think about paths. I favour weed suppressing membrane with gravelly stuff over it (bark chips were fine in year one, and ok in two. By year three they had rotted down into lovely compost and my paths grew more weeds than the beds did). I haven’t yet found a good construction method of keeping the paths easy to walk/barrow on (don’t underestimate how much more pleasureable this makes gardening) and keeping the soil off them. I’m thinkng of Hoggin, but I think it would hard to sweep/wash down.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 34112
Location: yes
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 18 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

beds one can reach the middle of from a decent path are rather good.

a plank path in a big bed can be handy ( or should that be footy ) with a bit of rope on one end they can be easily portable should that be useful. foot on one end lower or raise the other end with the rope.

re weeds, if you have perennial weeds that propagate from root fragments do not rotavate , ever

let us know what weeds you have , we know how to kill most of em.
a decent hoe is usually the best tool for intercrop weeding

for best advice photos and reports of the state of it might help

soil conditioning is a must even with good soils as good soils can be made better

one doable bed at a time was effective with my one ( a remedial job ) to start to get stuff growing asap which helps a lot with the diplomatic aspects.
your fellow allotmenteers will be a mixed bunch but some will have a stunning knowledge and skill set .

at this time of year a few successive plantings of early ,mid and main crop spuds, hoeing and earthing up will clean a decent area and might give a half decent return for effort on most soils.

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 5254
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 18 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Everything dpack just said, and my take/interpretation of two of his points:

dpack wrote:
soil conditioning is a must even with good soils as good soils can be made better

one doable bed at a time was effective with my one ( a remedial job ) to start to get stuff growing asap which helps a lot with the diplomatic aspects.

Organic matter makes most soils better, and doesn't ever really do anything to make them worse.

It's good to harness your enthusiasm, but better to wish you had planted more than to wish you didn't have so much weeding to catch up on.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 34112
Location: yes
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 18 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

perhaps i was not clear, by one bed at a time i mean prep and plant a bed then the next then the next etc rather than prep lots then plant lots.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 9907

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 18 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If you have a pet charcoal burner near you, a little small charcoal, the sort he/she may throw away unless they are in the biochar market can make a good addition. If you have a log fire the ash is good for spot fertilising things like tomatoes, but the potash washes out of it quickly, so has to be kept dry and used when needed, which is flower set time.

sgt.colon



Joined: 27 Jul 2009
Posts: 6119
Location: Just south of north.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 18 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thank you for all that great advice. I've lots to learn.

I like the sound of minimal weeding WW. I think some time spent planning and setting up properly is a must.

Apparently they get deliveries of free manure a few times a year and then guy showing me around said you can just help yourself.

frewen



Joined: 08 Sep 2005
Posts: 11404

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 18 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Love a load of free manure

What are you getting in first?

Fee



Joined: 21 Mar 2005
Posts: 15902
Location: Surrey Heath
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 18 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Great news on the manure! We loved our allotment.

Have you got any seeds planted yet? And plans drawn?

Starting with a blank canvas is a bonus, too.

sgt.colon



Joined: 27 Jul 2009
Posts: 6119
Location: Just south of north.
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 18 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Frewen and Fee,

I will be sitting down this weekend and planning out my plot. Not sure what I'm going to get in there first. Someone easy I think whilst I get it up and running. I'm going to go with DPacks idea of one bed at a time. I would like to do beetroot and some lettuce I think. Some garlic later in the year. There are some free large blue tubs about so some carrots as well I think.

At some point I'd like to get a small greenhouse on there for toms and chilli's.

sgt.colon



Joined: 27 Jul 2009
Posts: 6119
Location: Just south of north.
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 18 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Here are a couple of photos of my little plot. Apparently it hadn't been used for 15 years up to last year when a lady took it on but then gave it up.




gregotyn



Joined: 24 Jun 2010
Posts: 1689
Location: Llanfyllin area
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 18 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Just cover all of it as soon as you can, then dig where you want and cover again till you want to sow your seeds or plant out plants you have grown at home or bought in. Weeding is such a back breaking job, and when you are on top of it, it is usually just hoeing to maintain the ground with minimal weeds-you will never get rid of them all however you try! Remember that the more you dig the more weed seeds you will bring to the surface to germinate!
MOST IMPORTANT-"Always have a can of lubricant with you, for that moment when you need to reflect-well at least 2 cans, as you may need refreshment on the way there as well as on the way back" Take 3 to be safe.

sgt.colon



Joined: 27 Jul 2009
Posts: 6119
Location: Just south of north.
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 18 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanks for that Gregotyn, I'll get down in the next couple of weeks and get it all covered before I start. Maybe I should just take a crate down.

Nicky Colour it green



Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 8689
Location: Devon, uk
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 18 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

might be worth looking at the no-dig gardening method


not to be confused with no work! - but with free compost deliveries could be good,

Fee



Joined: 21 Mar 2005
Posts: 15902
Location: Surrey Heath
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 18 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Looks great, sgt.colon! That's going to be such a nice place to spend your time come later in spring and summer, with those trees! Nice path, too!

sgt.colon



Joined: 27 Jul 2009
Posts: 6119
Location: Just south of north.
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 18 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I got my first bed weeded and turned over this weekend. There are now runners and beetroot in there.

Is there a general food that people would recommend watering on to it?

Thanks.

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