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Making a little more progress at the allotment

Posted by on Wednesday 9 July 2014 in growing | 7 comments

2014-07-09 18.53.04Taking Jono’s advice on reclaiming overgrown allotments (do it little and often), I grabbed a sneaky hour and a half at the allotment this evening.

I’d been working at my computer all day and my John was off to his singing lesson, so I thought I’d take Lily to the allotment for a while rather than for her usual walk through the woods – and I think it worked well.

I managed to get my first bed cleared of most of its weeds, concentrating on annoying deep rooting things like dandelions and creeping buttercup (of which there is more at the allotment than I first though, but nevermind, I will conquer it, I will!). All it really needs now is a proper digging over, then I can start planting in it. (I’m tempted to plant through a weed barrier, to discourage anything I’ve missed from growing back.)

I also spent a bit of time clearing the weeds around the bed – I’ve got some new scissor shears (ones with a rotating handle) so I tried cutting a DMZ around the bed – I did it rather patchily but it’s a start.

2014-07-09 19.06.19

And while I was there, I also picked our first harvest from the plot – a litre of blackcurrants. There were more but my tub was full and my “helper” wanted to go for to the park for the rest of her walk, so I’ll have to leave them ’til next time. (I might get another sneaky hour in tomorrow as John’s doing a talk in the evening. And also I left my headphones in my shed.) My blackcurrant bushes at home are desperate to be harvested too, so I think some jam making may be on the cards for the weekend, yay! :)


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  1. mum

    I’ve quite a few jars if you need them.

  2. Lynsey @swirlyarts

    Oh you lucky, lucky thing! I’m on the waiting list and will be for a good few years yet so I can live through yours! Looks fabulous :)

  3. Jennifer Ray

    I cant look at a bare, dug-over site without cringing. I can just imagine all the weed seeds in the soil that you have just brought to the surface where they are going to get a good dose of sunlight and rain and germinate happily so you can start the whole process all over again. My advice is to get something over the soil asap to stop the seeds getting any sun and stop them germinating. You can go the black plastic route but I personally choose the organic matter route as that feeds the soil too – you can get well rotted manure & woodchips for free if you ask around. Don’t mix it in, just lay it on top – let the worms and the rain do the work for you. I use both well rotted manure and woodchips adding new layers each year or between crops – I never dig my soil, only have to pull a weed occasionally and rarely water. I plant, tie up and harvest. Its the easiest garden I’ve ever worked in.

    • louisa

      Hi Jennifer,

      Thanks for the comment!

      I do generally prefer no/low dig gardening but there were so many mammoth creeping buttercup and dandelions in that bed that leaving them wasn’t really an option.

      I’m definitely going to go down a smothering route for the rest of the beds I dig over. At the weekend,. I planted up that bed, and transplanted some beans into another little bed, but I think that’s all I’ll get in the ground until the autumn: I’m going to keep working on the other beds and covering them as you describe, hopefully with organic matter if I can as the soil needs more humus. Smothering the ground around my fruit bushes is also a priority.

  4. PipneyJane

    Hi Louisa

    Have you thought about layering newspaper over the beds to suppress weeds? The idea is that you make a paper mache layer to suppress the weeds. It isn’t prietty but it works well and will rot down to lighten up heavy clay soil . I got the idea from The Lazy Gardner book. .Soak sheets in a wallpaper-paste mixture and layer thickly over the bed. I found that I needed a knife to cut out holes for planting.

    – Pam

  5. Jordan Walker

    Great idea! Instead of taking Lily to walk through the woods you took her to the allotment. And those blackcurrants are yummy too!

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