Author Topic: Just been offered a share of an allotment  (Read 2063 times)

Just been offered a share of an allotment
« on: June 25, 2012, 02:54:45 pm »
My next door neighbour has got to the top of the waiting list, looked at the size of the plot, & panicked, so asked me if I'd like to share it.

I was going to look at the plot yesterday, but then my neighbour's partner's mother died & the partner hurried off to Italy for the funeral, so I'll have to wait a bit. Foolishly, I didn't ask about the rent straight away.

Apparently it's gone to grass, having been neglected for months. Not the best time of year to start, I think. Any suggestions on how to start getting something worthwhile out of it ASAP?

I'm tempted to take some cuttings from our blackcurrant bush.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Re: Just been offered a share of an allotment
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2012, 03:38:10 pm »
salad type stuff would be a start, digging over and applying muck ready for next year, generally getting the plot in to shape repairing paths around the edge, not sure what sort of size your plot is, been a while since I had an allotment, but I know a single plot won't appear that big after a while,

Re: Just been offered a share of an allotment
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2012, 03:53:41 pm »
The one thing we have plenty of growing in our tiny garden (because we eat a lot of it, it's relatively expensive, & it's nice to be able to pick bits when one wants) is salad stuff. We also have window boxes. I'll put some more in, of course, but I'm wondering if there's anything else I might fruitfully plant soon.

Intend to plant winter veg later. Got to find out what's on site & have a look at it ASAP. So far I have only a brief verbal report from someone who is now in Italy & has more important things to worry about. Tool store? How far to water tap? Compost heap/bin? Any perennials? What's the soil like?
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Re: Just been offered a share of an allotment
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2012, 04:53:32 pm »
I'd use roundup on an overgrown allotment at this time of year, and possibly a second dose if stuff grows back. Then start clearing & digging. If it is heavy soil, leaving it roughly dug over winter helps the frost break the soil down to a finer tilth.

I usually do currant bush cutting in the autumn - foot long bits pushed in the slot made by sticking the spade in the ground. They strike pretty easily and can be moved the following spring.

It's not too late o plant french beans & carrots (I planted some yesterday).
If it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is...

Re: Just been offered a share of an allotment
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2012, 07:37:30 pm »
Cool. I have some carrot seeds, & I may still have some beans.

I have strawberry runners which have rooted, & today I put down a couple of small pots for runners overhanging from the strawberry plants in pots, for later transplanting.

Got some radish & chard seeds, too, not planted because of lack of space.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Re: Just been offered a share of an allotment
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2012, 12:50:24 pm »
You can suppress the weeds by using cardboard - ideally corrugated as it encourages worms - (check your lbs for bike boxes), or a thickness  of 6-8 sheets of newspaper.
Overlap well so weeds don't squeeze up gaps, you can then make holes in your mulch to plant; beans, squash, courgettes, your chard and so on, or plant your fruit bushes.

Although Roundup (glyphosate) is widely considered safe for use (some preparations even in watercourses) there is research which suggests it affects soil fauna (I do use Roundup but i'm also a bit cautious about the idea of the latest pesticide being 'safe' - there seems to be a pattern through history!).

Don't worry too much about taking a plot on, depending upon the customs of the site you can cover half of it with fruit trees and bushes, a shed and a greenhouse, then create four or five raised beds for veg rotation.

Better starting now and being ready for spring next year.   :thumbsup:

Re: Just been offered a share of an allotment
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2012, 09:46:11 pm »
Cover plot in cardboard or newspaper as previously mentioned.
Cover that with a weed suppressant cloth (from poundland or similar)
Hold the fabric down with end of season cheap grow bags.

Grow saladings in the grow bags, so you are 'cultivating' the plot.

Late autumn you should have fewer weeds, and plenty of paper/cardboard/grow bag soil conditioner.

Dig it in, start afresh in the spring.

The advantage of starting this way is that you can drag bags around to try different layouts, pathways and viewpoints.

Re: Just been offered a share of an allotment
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2012, 02:01:07 pm »
The previous tenants (bloke who died of a heart attack last year, widow had a car accident a little while afterwards & gave it up) left behind some sheets of black plastic, plywood, & some carpet tiles. A small area was covered with these. There are also cold frames, a double compost bin, various plastic & metal bins (some bottomless), baskets, netting & fleece (safe in one of the bins).

We got onto it on Sunday, & found all this stuff.

The previously covered area is now dug over, & the contents of the compost bin dug into it (it needed it).

The plastic sheeting etc is now spread over some of the beds, weighted down with bricks & breezeblocks left on the plot.

Lots of vegetation has been cleared. The compost bin has been refilled, as have some of the bottomless dustbins. The green cone with a lid (there's another one with the lid missing) has been dug in to a sunny spot & filled with bits of bramble, in the hope that it'll get hot enough to kill off everything inside.

A pretty good start, we thought. But unfortunately the bloody neighbour who offered to share the allotment with us is now having second thoughts - AFTER we spent hours working on it, & lending her & her girlfriend our tools! Mrs B reckons that she may have realised that she'll be giving up some control, & since she's not had much in her life that's under her control, this is something she wants to hang on to.

Ah well. We'll see. No point hassling her. She'll just retreat in silent confusion & fear. She's like that. Only thing to do is wait & see if she has third thoughts.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Just been offered a share of an allotment
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2012, 05:46:48 pm »
That's really frustrating.  Hope it works out.
Getting there...

Re: Just been offered a share of an allotment
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2012, 05:56:19 pm »
Thanks.

Saw the girlfriend today. We tactfully skirted round it.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Re: Just been offered a share of an allotment
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2012, 10:31:52 am »
She's sort of got her act together. Agreed which parts each of us will work, & what parts we'll share, & she's getting a second key. I had the key yesterday & got a fair bit done. Four hours on the plot, with Mrs B doing two hours.

I've discovered that the plot at the other end of the site which I thought was abandoned because it's covered with brambly stuff is actually held by an octogenarian who cultivates it for raspberries, loganberries, & blackberries, & the wild bit at the top of the plot which is partly covered with brambles & partly used as a tip for woody waste & stuff that people don't want in their compost (e.g. dandelion roots) isn't part of any plot. It's thought there used to be a store of some kind there.

I now know exactly where the edges of the plot are on three sides: the previous tenant put posts in the mark the corners. The third side is defined by the edge of the site.

The allotment is on the site described here - http://readingallotments.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/mockbeggar/
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Re: Just been offered a share of an allotment
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2013, 08:26:45 pm »
Time for before & after photographs.

End June 2012 -


Today -


Looks a bit bare, but lots of things are growing now. Almost all of what you see was there already, but hidden by vegetation. Some of the planks bordering beds were laying on the ground.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Re: Just been offered a share of an allotment
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2013, 10:31:00 am »
A year in the life of an allotment. I just realised that it's a year to the day since we got onto the plot, & I thought it'd be appropriate to post a link to a set of photos showing the changes.

Two weeks behind at the moment, which is significant given how fast everything's growing, but I can correct that later today.

http://s432.photobucket.com/user/Bledlow/library/Gardening?sort=4&page=1
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897