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Mid Year - New Allotment - New Start


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newToGrow
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:44 pm    Post subject: Mid Year - New Allotment - New Start Reply with quote

hi Guys - Long time Lurker - First time Poster !!!

So A little Background - over the years I've occasionally toyed with growing toms with varying degrees of Success, last year - I grew a variety of different things in Containers in the Back Garden - Spuds - Onions - Lettuce - Strawberrys - Sweetcorn, Carrots again with varying degrees of Success - so not really Green fingered as such - but its always been something I've wanted to try (and succeed with )
Anyway - Myself and a family member have just got our hands on a 10 M * 11 M Allotment ( 32 * 36 feet )
We are thinking, as neither of us have any massive experience and given the time of year what we will do is prepare cover one half for now and just work on the other half until we build up our skills and get into the routine of things
So.......
Where do we start ?? I would like to follow the "People Like Bunches of Roses"
Rotation - so split the working half into 5 sections


Given the time of year - what would you plant in each section?

- ideally I'd love to plant some things now that would give us some kind of return quickly !!! (I know its not how it should work - but you know how it is when your excited about something at the beginning !)

- or if you have better advice to a complete newbie - it's most welcome !!!
thanks!

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dormouse
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there, that's exactly the situation I found myself in this time last year. I cursed my luck getting it so late but I'm convinced it was a blessing in disguise. I see so many people who got new plots this spring have thrown the hat in and walked away. It was too much to turn overgrown and weed infested plots into workable plots plus get the planting done. In short the bubble was quickly burst. They rotivated and stuck plug plants or sowed seeds and everything was quickly destoyed by weather or pests like slugs. Plus weeds came back worse than when they started. The soil wasn't right and there was simply too much to learn and too much to do.
You sound like you're really into it so my advice would be to be patient. Spend the time between now and next spring planning the layout, working out what you would like to grow, preparing the various areas and then set about the work of improving the soil with lots of manure in the autumn. Get lots of bareroot fruit plants in during the winter, they are very cheap and productive. All that work will keep you busy believe me.
I grew nothing at all apart from onver-wintered onions and garlic, and planted fruit bushes in October, but I now have a productive plot with with all the usual fair plus a DIY polytunnel full of toms, cucumbers, peppers, chillis etc.
So that's just my advise. It depends on your eperience and how much help you can get. Of course if you have the time and manpower there are lots of things you can start now. See this link ...
http://nickykylegardening.com/blog/145-seeds-to-sow-now-july-2012-
I find that a good part fo the fun of an allotment is the DIY invovled - making up raised beds, making your own fences, gates, paths, composters, a tunnel if you fancy it. Like I said there's plenty to do so dont be disheartened by the fact that it is already July and the days are getting shorter. Enjoy it Smile
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newToGrow
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi Dormouse -
thanks for the quick reply - it's always good to get someones practical insight - yeah i think in one way its good that I have it at this time and am limited to what I can grow - or I probably would become one of those burst bubble storys !
I may even cover and treat 3/4 of the plot - it'll give me time to see where the sun rises and sets regarding the plot & I guess I can plan around that for things like the higher and lower plants regarding shade and what not and also hit the sites and the books and prepare properly for next year
I've always found (in my limited experience ) that when I start reading about growing stuff(when I have the pack of seeds in my hand!) that there is a lot of reference to the preparation that should be done months before you even stick a seed in the ground !

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newToGrow
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh yeah ! - thanks for the link !!
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newToGrow
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi Guys - back with another few Q's !!

So..
I've got the Plot ( more used to saying I've lost the Plot - but anyway...)

11 metres by 10 metres - it's been strimmed but not sure if its been sprayed - can do this myself I guess

so....as I was saying I'm gonna cover @ 3/4 of it until its time for Spring Planting- have access to Manure onsite -
for the 3/4 I have these Q's
1. Should I turn the Soil @ a week or two after Spraying and then dig in the Manure & Cover it Or just put the manure on top of the sprayed ground and cover ?
2. For the Covering - Some one mentioned Black Plastic - being the tight A&*e that I am I don't really want to splash out on that - I have some that I can use - but I can also get my hands on some of that weed membrane stuff for free - you know the type that lets the rains through - could I use this ?

For the 1/4 that I think I'll use now - Im hoping to get some Autumn Crops and was thinking of planting the following:

Winter lettuces Winter Gem
Pak Choi
kohlrabi
Turnips Purple Top Milan"
Carrots "Autumn King 2

Any help/advice is most welcome - after handing over a few bob teh other day - I suddenly got a little overwhelmed at whats ahead of me and thought - oh no ! what have I done ! Is this gonna be another one of these daft mid life crisis thingys that'll fizzle out after a few weeks - (really don't want that to happen )

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newToGrow
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh sorry - I meant to also ask - If I stick down some of the List I mentioned - would the Short time Period offset any effects on the whole Crop Rotation ? PLBOR

As in will I still be able to include that 1/4 in the whole Crop Rotation Cycle when I am setting it up in the Spring ( I hope this makes sense )
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dormouse
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Part of the idea of covering manured soil over winter is to stop the winter rains washing the nutrients down and out of the soil so i would be inclined to go with plastic. If you ring round builders providers you'll find durable heavy grade plastic very cheap.
Some people dig the manure in, some leave it on top. If left on top it would need to be dug in in the spring anyway. The worms will take some down but if it's a good thick layer it will still be there in spring.
If you are spraying just follow the advice on the product, havnt done it myself. I dug the weeds and roots out. Mightn't be an option for you? You've plenty of time so just spray, and leave it to do it's job. If the ground hasn't been cultivated it would need to be single of double-dug before you work in your manure. Have a google or check youtube for techniques on preparing the soil. But do cover it as weed seeds will be brought up or blow in and germinate. In spring once you start planting consider planting vertain things through weeb fabric or else mulching to keep new weeds down.
You've bags of time Smile Sow your 1/4 and learn from it and tackle the 3/4 bit by bit over the next few months.
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rej
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi New to Grow, I'm not that far behind you in terms of experience, but it is good fun and lovely to have your own vegs etc to eat. Just wondering if using spray to kill off all the weeds is the best way to go, it really needs to be nasty stuff to kill them all off - don't want that turning up in my veg.
I did a bit of exploring and discovered this website (charlesdowding.co.uk) which is all about the idea of no dig gardening - where you use a 6 inch layer of manure and/or compost to kill off the weeds in your beds. I used it last winter on my lawn to create 2 raised beds and I have had hardly any weeds growing through (a bit of trouble with couch grass early on, 2 bits of bind weed and another wierd sort of grass growing through) but basically, it really did work. Dispite the weather, my vegs are growing away and when I got back from 2 weeks hols last week, hardly any weeds to worry about. There must be a better way than those horrible sprays (saying that, I do paint them onto the bind weed which is endemic in my garden adn can't be dug out).
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newToGrow
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey Rej -
thanks for that - been looking through the site - quiet interesting alright - although maybe a little late - the guys who run the allotments Rotavated our allotment over the weekend - here is what I am now thinking of doing:

1. set aside a corner for a cheapy - hoopy DIY poly tunnel - nothing overly big maybe 8 * 6 foot

2. I think what I will do is put in a series of raised beds using scaffolding Planks - and I can do my plbor ri#otationsd with these

I've been snooping around the other alllotments for ideas and the best one I saw had these -
So.. here's my idea for going about it
- I need to rake out the Stones and any sods/grass and weeds that have been over turned by the rotavator so I figured I would do that and bring together some raised areas that I will use as raised beds (once I get my planks and box them in )

I have a Question though -

should I put some of the weed membrane on the ground under the raised beds ? I can then fill these beds with a mixture of manure and soil and cover them for the winter - Is this a good idea ? or is there much point in putting this membrane down under the beds ? would it hinder the growth of say root vegs ????

Any other thoughts or opinions are most welcome - Should be dropping up there over the coming days to get started on the raking - dont want the weeds to start taking hold on the plot now that its rotavated !!
thanks again guys !!

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dormouse
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds good to me and roughly what I did. I didnt put weed fabric down and dont think it is needed. I imagine it would inhibit root penetration of some crops. Say potatoes, you may find you want to dig deeper than the depth of the soil in the bed. Anyway, you should at least single dig the ground under the bed as well as relying on the soil in the bed.
Dont forget you need soil to fill the beds. Essentially what you need to do is excavate the site down a few inches and set that aside. Then put your bed down and fill it with the excavated soil. Think it through before you start digging. I didnt really and ended up shifting huge piles of soil around and around until the whole site was done. A lot of unecessary work, but good exercise Smile

Here's a link to the story of my DIY tunnel but also my plot in general. Some photos fom May on page 2 where you can see what I did with the plot.

Good luck, one bit at a time


Last edited by dormouse on Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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dormouse
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056374212
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dormouse
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And dont forget to take photos!!!! Love progress threads
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newToGrow
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ahem Embarassed

been looking back over this thread recently - a few things came about since I last posted here ( a year has passed !! wow !) and the plot never came through for me - guess you could ay I lost it after all
1. co- owner ( family member ) got a job ! - I work full time - so neither of us had the time to develop it -

2. It was @ 5 miles from where we live - it was close to where I worked - thought that would be an advantage for me - but turned out not to be the case


Anyway......

A year later and I have sourced one a lot closer to our homes - 1 & a half miles in fact so easy for each of us to pop up and down before - after work at weekends for an hour or 2

So I'm back at the start - plotting and planning again

this one is 60 feet long and 19 feet wide - water barrel at the end - access to manure - pretty good spot -swings and trampolines ect. for kids - nice looking community vibe going on up there

so far - we have sourced some good quality scaffolding planks and the owner of the site harrowed the plot for us over the weekend

- he had some potatoes in that we dug out and there's also a bed of strawberry plants that we will probably have to move

I've been drawing up some plans as to how we would like the plot to look next Spring

we both have kids (4 between us, Ages 2, 5, 6 , 11 )

we are considering a run for hens at the end of the plot, a small greenhouse & a little seating - storage area at the entrance

enough beds to hold fruit trees, permanent plants - do crop rotations and maybe give over a bed to the kids to keep them interested

I've thrown a (very) rough diagram together in paint

and was wondering if some of the more experienced people here could throw their eye over it and give me there tuppence worth

I do have some specific questions regarding bed sizes ( 4ft X 8ft) and their suitability to say growing spuds

- is the bed big enough for a good yield - also are they big enough ( 2 beds to hold fruit trees, plums apples pears )
or 1 for the plums apples pears( If each has a pollinating partner ) and another for soft berries? raspberries - logan ect.)

how many hens would the hen Run be suitable for ? ( 19 X10 ft) - 1 or maybe 2 coops on stilts if required

the way I laid it out - it seems we would have 8 (8X4) beds to play with after giving one to the kids and reserving 2 for fruits and 1 for permanents

could we combine the potatoes & roots in a bed - are they big enough to give us a good yield ? or would we just get a token amount ?
these are the things that are flying around my head at the minute those and a hundred oter Q's !!!

we are not going to put down anything really for the winter although the owner is encouraging us to - I really want to focus on putting it together

so it is well defined and structured and ready come spring so the kids can partake in the whole endeavor
I guess I figure If we do the Prep DIY Work over winter - we are not under pressure through out the winter as such
and when it comes to planting all the structures will be ready
and in place

anyway - that's were we are at at the moment - any advice I could get would be brilliant as from any of the threads I have been reading seem to get fairly sound advice
thanks !



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baabamaal
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although to me, the overall plot concept looks great, I'm not qualified to critique it. But two issues that you might further consider-
Does the allotment owner allow fruit trees to be planted? As far as I know, some of them operate on the basis that all plots will be rotovated once a year.
The other issue is the hens- even if it is only a mile and a half from home, they will need to be checked twice a day, every day- even when the rest of the plot is entirely dormant- not a lot of fun on a miserable morning in January! From a practical point of view, the feed and bedding will need to be stored on site- very tempting for rodents unless stored securely. The run will also need to have fencing that is buried to prevent foxes.

Personally, I would get the veg part of the project up and running and consider the hens as phase 2!
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bad luck on last years effort and I do hope that this one works out for you as it can be very rewarding.
I am no expert but I do think you have planned too much. Just get the infrastructure and the soil ready for the spring as you just wont have the time once you start sowing. I echo what baabamaal said about the hens, too much work for a few eggs if they are not outside your back door. Get your soil tested/analysed and treat it accordingly in readiness for March/April. See how it goes through the first year and add in your pet projects next autumn. Just get it up and running first, don't be too reliant on the kids helping out too much either - they will soon lose interest unless you are picking strawberries, they wont want to know about much else!!!!
I started on a 700m2 plot last May and it has been a LOT of work since then (digging potatoes for the last two days). I aim to start on my polytunnel next week and getting another 500m2 approx. ready for the spring after that. It's not easy but it is very rewarding, cannot wait to start using the polytunnel to stretch out the growing season.
Put up some photos and let us see your progress, it will spur you on too if you know we are watching!!! GOOD LUCK.

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