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New Allotment - How do I prepare it?


 
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clare
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 15
Location: Roscommon

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:57 am    Post subject: New Allotment - How do I prepare it? Reply with quote

My husband has recently extended my allotment for me. I have planned out beds etc with no problem but I need advice on how to prepare them for use. The ground was previously a cattle grazing field. It has been thoroughly rotovated to a depth of around 9" plus but the turf was not removed first. I am therefore left with a lot of grass, buttercup, daisy and clover (among many other) roots and shoots. Rather than using the ground now and countinuously weeding all this out, would it be better to let it grow, weedkill the whole site and then start prepparing it to use next year? The soil is good and rich so I don't want to spoil it with chemicals, but I can't see myself ever getting on top of the 'weeds' otherwise? Any advice please?
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Sive
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 18 Apr 2008
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Location: Co.Wexford

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm no expert, but I suspect you have two choices, leave the land fallow and continuously hand weed until next spring. or use weedkiller as a necessary evil and a "once-off" solution.
I believe you can also cover the earth with black plastic or old carpeting until next spring but I don't know how large an area you are talking about.
If you are very keen to use this ground in the next couple of months, I suspect you would have to use weedkiller.
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clare
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 26 Mar 2007
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Location: Roscommon

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your reply. It is quite a large area approx 300 sq ft. If I use a weedkiller, will I ruin the soil? I'm not deperate to use the ground - it can wait for autumn planting or even next spring if necessary. I can't help thinking that as this area had been grazing field for ever until now, I'l never get rid of all the weeds and grass by hand.
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verge
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Joined: 04 Jun 2006
Posts: 598
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clare, Sive is on the right track with the carpet/plastic I believe. Gpi wrote a great article on this---- Solarize your soil, non-chemical weed and disease control.
Interesting reading for you I'd say.

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http://www.allotments.ie/ Ireland's allotments.
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inishindie
Rank attained: Tree plantation keeper


Joined: 27 May 2007
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Location: inishowen Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:44 am    Post subject: raised beds Reply with quote

Mulch mulch and mulch!

You could build up raised beds. If you put down a thick (ish ) layer of paper or cardboard onto an area you want to build up then add good quality soil,compost and well rotted manure you could start planting on the site straight away even though I know you are not in a rush.

I have added an external link to show the raised beds I did, we planted in them straight away and they are VERY low maintenence.

You could put down the frames then use the soil from around them to fill them up. They wouldn't require too much work and you would be left with a good surface for paths.

I don't like the idea of walking on soil as it compacts it. Make paths along the perimiter of each bed that you do with weed block webbing,planks,plastic or anything else that you have to hand. As your plants develop their roots will penetrate the old soggy paper or card and get the nutrients form the soil below. The only weeds that could come through this would be docks, reeds ,japanese knotweed and horsetails, so you might have to dig them up first.

You could still cover areas you will not use this year. A word of caution though, don't use carpet that has a nylon weave in the backing. It's a pain to get rid of!!

When you have planted any young plants, get mulching again to keep on top of the weeds ( I think you might have guessed I don't like weeding much)


Makeing simple raised beds: http://gardening.ie/index.php/in-the-garden/level-2/construct/59-construct/122-building-simple-raised-beds

Apologies for the externall link - (make sure you come back to http://www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/ afterwards!

Cheers

Ian

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clare
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 26 Mar 2007
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Location: Roscommon

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plenty to think about thanks - I like the Solarization idea - might give that a go. Once you've got the plastic it can always be used again for clearing other areas.
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verge
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Joined: 04 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clare wrote:
Once you've got the plastic it can always be used again for clearing other areas.


Reuse, recycle. Wink

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