Archive for the ‘Allotment gardening tips’ Category

Your Questions About Weed Spray

September 20, 2012 6:15 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

Ruth asks…

landscape fabric and mulch aren’t enough – what else?

We have several very large beds with both bushes and perennials. When we put them in a few years ago, we carefully put down good quality landscape fabric and lots of mulch. It was formerly a grassy area, so we did it thoroughly and overlapped the fabric quite a bit the first time to help inhibit grass & weeds.
I add in lots of fresh mulch every other year.
It just doesn’t keep the weeds and clumps of grass from poking through.
What product can I use (spray?) on the weeds or liberally around the beds that will not hurt the plants and flowers?
Please suggest something readily available at Home Depot & Lowe’s type places.

Martin Boyle answers:

Pour a bit of Preen down and put the mulch on top.

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Your Questions About Allotment Gardening

September 14, 2012 10:10 am
posted by Martin Boyle

Steven asks…

Grown veg in garden for some years now and have just been allocated an allotment for the first time any tips?

I have a choose of four or five. what should i look for.any tips would be help full. uk midlands, many thanks.

Martin Boyle answers:

Hi there
I have also just taken over an allotment. Looking over the adjoining plots it seems that everyone grows peas, beans, sprouts and potatoes. They all crop at the same time so everyone has surplus stock. I intend to grow more unusual plants,i.e. Butternut squash and peppers. Also lots of fruit bushes and tomato plants, yellow variety, and some wild flowers that keep away the bugs.
Rough dig your plot over now so the frost can work through the soil.
Also, I notice you are in the Midlands. Freebay Coventry has a service where people recycle unwanted items. I got a lovely wicker shelf unit for use in the allotment shed and two bentwood chairs.

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Mares Tail Weed! How To Get Rid Of

9:33 am
posted by Martin Boyle

Maria asks…

How can I fight mares tale weed at my allotment?

Mares tale weed is persistent and very annoying at my allotment, it  grows and spreads like crazy, I desperately need help to get rid of it, it just takes all the pleasure away from gardening, does anyone know the solution please?

Martin Boyle answers:

Mares Tail Weed, How To Get Rid Of It

From long and painful experience on my low-lying, damp allotment, I have found that you need to do 4 things to eradicate mares tail weed;

1) In late Summer/Autumn, when the ground is driest and the crops have been harvested, dig the land thoroughly, by hand, using a fork not a spade as this will get between the roots of the weed and cause less breakage. Carefully uncover each clump and remove the roots as deep as you can go. Keep the roots separate from any stuff you’re going to compost – like bindweed, never let it get into your compost heap. You can and should do this every time you have a bare, newly-harvested patch of ground, as the thorough digging will help prepare the soil for the next crop. If you then cover the ground with weed-proof membrane, pegged down all round, it will stay clean and ready to plant for several months, and you won’t have problems with the soil panning or caking in rain. If you leave this job until the Spring, the damp land where the plant grows will be too sticky to dig and break up the clods effectively.
Whatever you do, NEVER ROTOVATE any ground which has mares tail weed, or you’ll just be chopping it up into thousands of tiny cuttings which will all gleefully sprout into new plants. If you have deep-dug it, rotovating won’t be necessary anyway.

2) If the land has been left unplanted for a while before sowing crops, inspect it and dig up any mares tail weed shoots which have appeared. Covering the ground will stop other weeds from growing but not mares-tail or bindweed. Then sow your crops. If you want to be sure that no weedkiller touches your veg, just pull out any mares tail weed shoots which appear whilst the veg are growing – or live with them until the crop is harvested, they won’t go to seed and will do no harm.

3) The most effective weedkiller for mares-tail weed is based on Ammonium Sulphate. Buy Rootout or Deep Root, which are brushwood killers, and carefully spray any shoots which you can’t dig out, but can get at without affecting your veg, eg where it’s growing through wire fences or along the edge of the plot. I don’t advise wholesale spraying without digging first, because you can considerably weaken the plants by digging out the deep roots, and then you’ll have more success with the spray. Roundup is NOT the solution. Mares tail weed is largely impervious to glyphosate, which will have some effect but won’t be permanent.

4) It may take a couple of seasons before you feel you’ve got it on the run, but the main thing is not to let down your guard. Operate a strict ‘no tolerance’ policy once you’ve largely cleared it, and then it’s easier to control.
Good luck! Mares tail weed is a very primitive plant, has been on your plot for millions of years, and isn’t going to give up its tenancy any time soon, but actually it’s quite attractive and at least it doesn’t set seed.

For more information:  click here

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Your Questions About Allotment Gardening

September 11, 2012 3:16 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

Donna asks…

Do you go to your allotment or work in your garden if it’s raining?

I only have a few hours each week when I can garden, but is there any point when it’s squally weather?
The allotment where I’m growing our fruit and vegetables is a half hour walk away and with the weather changing here (London) every ten minutes I can’t make up my mind to it…

Martin Boyle answers:

I love gardening but I’m afraid I’m a fair-weather gardener, i guess you’re talking about our UK weather? It’s really depressing at the moment which is why I’m on here but if the sun does! Come out I’ll be out there.

Have you got a shed on your allotment! You could always have a ‘nice cup of tea’ in between showers.

Linda asks…

Where to get wood, timber and other things to build a shed for an allotment?

I just took on an allotment but there is no shed or anything, where do I get wood, timber and other bits to build a shed. Where do I get bits and bobs, garden tools to maintain it. I don´t wanna spend a great deal of money on it, better even if I could get it for free. Or is there anywhere near Lincoln, Uk a junk yard where I can get bits like that?

Martin Boyle answers:

Join your local free cycle group and put a wanted ad. I got loads of bits for my allotment. I was lucky and got a greenhouse from eBay for £10. So it may be worth looking on there too. Best of luck.

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Your Questions About Allotment Gardening

September 10, 2012 8:58 am
posted by Martin Boyle

Lisa asks…

Best herbs to make a biggish size herb garden on an allotment.?

I have mint, rosemary, thyme, and a curry plant thing. what else can i use to fill it up and have an enormous herb garden ???

Martin Boyle answers:

I have an enormous herb garden so in mine are;
Rosemary (blue, white and prostrata) Golden marjoram, Greek oregano, chives, bronze fennel, sweet cicely, angelica, hyssop, lemon balm, lemon verbena, chocolate peppermint i potted, sage, thyme (several varieties) lovage, savory, tarragon and surrounding it all is a lavender hedge 🙂

Laura asks…

Can you walk through the allotment?

For example: The allotment is behind your back garden. Can you walk across the allotment to go to the field or are you not allowed?
Sorry, UK answers only please. Allotment is publicly owned where poor people can rent it through the council to plant vegetables etc.

Martin Boyle answers:

In the UK you can walk anywhere that is not closed or fenced off. If it is private land you can still walk on it. However, if you are asked to leave by the legal occupier or land owner you must remove yourself from the land. If you decline to do so the owner can use ‘reasonable force’ to remove you as you are then a trespasser. You cannot be prosecuted for trespass as it is a civil, as opposed to criminal, matter, in spite of what the many notices say. However you can be sued for trespass which is only worthwhile if you have caused damage to say crops for example. The court would be likely to award damages and maybe legal costs against you.
Interestingly you can legitimately walk into a house if the front door is open or unlocked with impunity. No advisable of course as you would be required to explain yourself to the boys in blue. But no offence would have been committed.

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Martin Boyle
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