How To Clear An Allotment
Step 4 is to cover the soil with a mulch. Weeds
and grass cannot grow for long without light and a mulch will exclude
light.To kill the weeds completely with mulch will take six to nine
months but even four weeks in the dark will seriously weaken most weeds.
Leave about two weeks worth of digging uncovered. The cheapest
form of mulch in large volumes is probably old discarded carpet
which should be free.
way to get hold of enough is to put a small advert in your local
newsagent. You will be surprised at the high number of people who are
only too glad for you to take their old carpets off their hands!
Try and avoid the rubber backed carpets. Old ones
disintegrate and the rubber does not compost.
The other alternative mulch is black plastic. It will exclude
the light exactly the same as old carpet but is far less bulky.
You will have to buy it (Silage Sheet from an agricultural
merchants is the cheapest way) but it can easily be re-used or
even resold on E-bay if you clean it up. The picture on the left
(click to enlarge) shows a partially covered allotment.
Do make sure that you weight down the plastic with lots
of bricks or whatever rubble is available. An alternative used by many
allotment holders is old tyres. They are heavy and the tyre replacement
shops are only too glad to get rid of them for free.
Step 5 is to dig over the uncovered portion of
the allotment. Dig to about 1 to 1� spades depth and remove weeds and
roots as you go. Both weeds and grass roots will make this hard
work but the rotovator will have taken much of the sting out of the job.
The picture on the right (click to enlarge) shows the density
of couch grass roots you will encounter in an overgrown allotment.
Click here for our page on eradicating couch
Step 6 is to continue digging the allotment,
moving the mulch further up the plot as you go. The weeds and grass will
have grown under the but they will look yellow and be severely weakened.
The mulch will prevent the work of the rotovator being undone.
The method described above is the one we believe works
best but there are of course others. Some of them are listed below for
1. Clear the weeds and grass by spraying with a
herbicide such as glycophosphate. The land will be cleared in roughly
two weeks and the plot can be dug over as normal. The manufacturers of
such herbicides claim they are environmentally safe. However there is
mounting evidence that glycophosphate harms amphibians such as frogs.
Harming one class of animal results in harm to other classes of animal
who depend on them.
2. Simply dig the weeds and grass into the ground. We
tried this and found the work was back-breaking. Clearing a full-sized
allotment in this way might well take an entire summer.
3. Cover the entire allotment with plastic mulch for 9
months. This definitely will kill almost all weeds and grass stone dead
but it does take a long time.
Whichever method you use we, at GardenAction, wish you
GO TO CLEAR COUCH GRASS PAGE
PREVIOUS 'CLEAR ALLOTMENT' PAGE
ALLOTMENT INDEX PAGE