New to allotments

hi ive just got an allotment for me and my son who is 9yrs old ive n
idea on gardening or growing stuff . the allotment hasnt been used fo a couple of years and was covered in brambles and weeds ive removed al of them to ground level and they are now comming back up .iam thinkin of using round up on them now and leaving for a week or so the spreading some manure over the site then covering it over with plasti sheeting . i can then get somebody to plough then rotivate it for small charge is this a good idea as i want to get it looking workabl a.s.a.p. so my son dosent loose interest [he has a.d.h.d.] i think i could be great for him giving him a hobby and somwhere to burn of steam PLSE HELP!!!!!!
-- dave n cally
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Be advised that Roundup is highly controversial, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundup. Any toxic effects would most likely manifest themselves in your son, who is still in his maturation process.
I would recommend that you use the no dig, lasagna technique and cover the allotment with cardboard or several layers of newspaper, cover with compost (if possible), sprinkle on some bone meal, spread a layer of manure (to taste), and cover with mulch.
Get a copy of "Teaming with Microbes" (check library), and figure out what you want to plant in the spring.
--
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Billy

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You are learning the first lesson of gardening - how to cope with weeds.
I wouldn't advice using Roundup in a food garden or if you have a child whose condition may be sensitive to modern day chemicals, just plug away at the soil preparation and get that right from the start. As (and if) you continue your gardening life, you will find that the soil is the MOST important part of gardening and growing stuff comes secondary over time. By that I mean that you will learn that if your soil is right, then you will never have any trouble growing things (if you don't try to grow things that are either out of season or not suited to your climate)
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thanx for the reply [not cheared me up though ] the ground is rock har
and undigable so would the second part of my plan be a good ide spreading manure over the site leaving it covered with a plastic shee untill i can get it rotivated i already have the sheet enough to cove the whole plot .i got that f.o.c. from my brother inlaw i thought i may make it easier to tackle the weeds as it would be easier to dig another idea i have is to make raised beds and move the weed free soi into these but put cardboard under the weeded soil to prevent an coming back up ? would 6 inches be high enough ? i could add extr [6inches] on top in a year or twos tim
-- dave n cally
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dave n cally wrote:

What about raised beds?
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No soil is so bad that it can't be improved. I started my vegetable bed by digging a plot about 6 ft long and about 3 ft wide - for several years it was known as "the Tomb of the Unknown Gardener". I dug this in what was rough native pasture grass in "soil" that had first ever in history been cleared of trees in the late 1960s. No soil improvement had ever been done on it and I have to say that it was bloody ghastly - it was pale yellow in colour, it was like concrete and I never saw a worm for several years. I worked for days with a pick doing half inch indentations and then putting a sprinkler on and going back the next day to do a few more half inch pick indentations etc. My Brother in law eventually took pity on me and helped me get it down about 4 inches into the ground. My soil is now full of worms and getting to be a good dark chocolate colour but still has further to go. I use mountains of manure of any sort I can get my hands on.
My advice would be to make sure the soil is very moist and if it isn't moist then water it or do as I did with my pick before watering, put on as much poop as you can get your hands on, cover it with the plastic and leave it as long as you can. If you can get to the allotment and pull back the plastic and rake back the poop, dig by hand with a fork a small section at a time and then rake back the poop when you are done and put the plastic back and keep doing that till you've done the whole area. I recomend this because as you a re in the UK, you are in winter and now is a good time to let the poop sit and let the worms get to it. Learn about worms, they are your friends in the garden as is all soil biota. The soil biota all do a huge amount of work for you and you want to encourage them by disturbing them as little as possible and machines do disturb them. Do everything you can to encourage the build up of that soil life. If your plot has had blackbverries on it, then as irritating as they are to get rid of, they do improve the soil. also if it has been an allotment in the past, it should have had some soil imporvement done on it so you shouldn'be be too discouraged.
I know this cite won't fit the situation you find yourself in, but this site has been inspirational to me in the past and may help you realise that it CAN be done with a bit of patience and by working with nature, not against it. Start small, don't bite off more than you can chew and just keep at it, bit by bit. The more you learn the more you'll realise what a satisfying (if occasionally infuriating) hobby you have taken on. http://www.rosneath.com.au/ipc6/ch02/withers/index.html
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one thing to consider clearing an overgrown garden is how much space are you going to use in your first year. You can slash everything down but if you don't use it then the regrowth will simply come back. If you plan to leave part of the area fallow and grow on the rest, why use round up to kill the residual rubbish? Simply keep it covered for a season or 2 will deal to most weeds without the need of any weedkiller. Slash away the weeds and on the area you do not want to use chuck a good layer of poop across it and then cover with something that will block light. Black plastic will be ok but better still some old wool carpet or (better still) hessian type carpet underlay. That will be heavier than plastic and will itself degrade improving your soil. Don't bother with synthetics. You could also use well weighed down large cardboard boxes. The weeds will die through lack of light and when you want to get the rest of the land into production chances are you will find a nice growing medium underneath the mulch. I have done this and didn't need to use chemicals. The lack of light cleared the weeds.
rob
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thanx 2 all for your replies upto date . inow have a good idea on wha
to do .im going to BAN THE ROUND UP IDEA ! That seems to make very goo sense. im going to use my plastic sheet to cover manure that im going t spread [ive allready got the sheet 100square metres] then start on little bit at a time im only going to aim at getting less than hal done at the moment it is 21 metres long by 6 metres wide in total so i i only aim at doing a bit ive got plenty to be going on with!!!!!!!!! expect a lot more questions in the near future. WATCH THIS SPAC
-- dave n cally
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On Nov 1, 12:19 pm, dave n cally <dave.n.cally.

Covering the whole thing up is not going to be very interesting to a 9year old boy. Leave a little uncovered and you can use it for "experiments" in the mean time. Dump a bunch of water on it so that you will be able to turn it over and see if there are any worms or bugs. Get a pH testing kit and try it. Try planting some of the things that are almost guaranteed to come up: radishes and garlic are pretty sure bets. Get a live Christmas tree this year and plant it in the allotment (if that's allowed).
Good luck, Susan B.
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dave n cally wrote:

I was sort of terse in my suggestion, and I am inexperienced, but when I said raised beds, I had in mind you just putting in a small raised bed to get started, and hopefully the soil underneath it would start getting "worked on". You could even put the manure in the bottom of a bed, and put some planting medium on top of that.
You can still work on the rest of it too, in the way you describe above.
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[hi all ive made a start now ive spead manure on top of most of my plo
about 75% as ive been told carrots etc dont like fertyile soil iv covered it all with my plastic sheet .im going to leave it now till bloke is going to plough then rotivate it for 30 i will then cover i back over . iam then going to start making raised beds 6 inch high ive asked my local tescos to save me as much cardboard as poss. this will put at the bottom of my raised beds and move soil that i will wee as im moving it jnto the beds . this will leave me short of soil for th last beds and as im a hard landscaper by trade i will take my pick o any good soil that i would normally throw in a skip . by doing this i will save me 100 at least on skips that will round about pay for th gravel boards for my raised beds .in true allotment style doing it fo little or no pay out!!!!!
-- dave n cally
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A landscaper you say? Look into, no dig, "lasagna gardening". Check out a book from your local library called "Teaming with Microbes" to gain an understanding of what soil is and what you are doing and, for god's sake, get some English lessons.
--
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Billy

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sorry about my typing and grammar but i am a brain dead block paver .
will see if i can get said book than
-- dave n cally
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