Start Small

Start off by preparing a small area the size of your HL251 miniplot which is two 3.5m x 1.2m beds with 0.6m paths.

The 1.2m width means that you can reach all parts without walking on the beds. The length of the beds is flexible, depending on the shape of your plot.  This small area could be dug/forked over and weeds removed so that you can plant up right away.  Choose the least weedy section for your first bed. More beds can be added later.

You are left with a big area to maintain until you have time for your next bed. You need to stop weeds from seeding; either keep it strimmed or cover it as we are doing with the course plot, HL162.

There are two secrets for long term success

Create weed free beds.
Add compost/manure for fertility.

No-dig and digging

So far we have used 'no-dig' methods but lots of plot holders dig and incorporate compost/manure(FYM) into their beds.

Getting sufficient compost is an issue.  A compost heap on your plot will provide some compost after a year, but not nearly enough. Bruce supplies a load of cow manure for £30 and this is a great investment but ideally you would leave it for a year to mature.  Get it now!


Good Reads ...

This is how the beds were cleared of weeds on HL251. Compost/mature FYM was added in the autumn of 2019, ready for planting in spring 2020.


You can see for yourself what we are doing on HL162 plot - non-mature FYM under plastic; this was after strimming down a very weedy plot in August.  It could have been ready for planting in May but lockdown makes this unlikely.


Charles Dowding is the no-dig guru and this is a long article about his methods.

... and his recent video.


Alys Fowler has a video - winter on her new allotment.  She combines forking out weeds and mulching with cardboard.


The national association (NSALG) website has many articles on starting off.


Some websites recommend glysophate to kill off weeds. It is not something I would recommend but some people do. Glysophate is banned in some countries.