Allotments are a great way to grow your own fruit, and vegetables and get some fresh air, but they can be a real pain if they’re not properly maintained. If you have an allotment, it’s important to keep it tidy and free of debris. You should also regularly check for signs of pests and diseases and take steps to control them. Overgrown allotments can be a nuisance and an eyesore, and they can also attract vermin such as rats and mice. By taking proper care of your allotment, you can enjoy the benefits of fresh produce without creating a problem for your neighbours.
What is an Allotment?
An allotment is a parcel of land granted to an individual for the purpose of growing food. The practice can be traced back to 16th century England, although what we have come to know as allotments today began in the 1800s.
Allotments are typically used by gardeners and small-scale farmers as a source of food production for personal or communal use, and today, allotments are popular in many countries around the world, providing a way for people to grow their own food and connect with their local community.
Why do Allotments Become Overgrown?
If an allotment holder does not maintain their plot for whatever reason, the allotment can become overgrown. The term “overgrown” is used to describe a range of different conditions, including overgrown weeds, overgrown bushes, and trees, or even the general state of disarray that can develop when an allotment isn’t properly maintained.
How To Clear an Overgrown Allotment
Allotments can quickly become overgrown if they are not properly maintained. Weeds, bushes, and trees can all take over an allotment if they are not kept in check. However, clearing an overgrown allotment can be a daunting task. Here are 6 steps to help you get the job done:
What You Need
- A Shovel or Spade
- Pruning Shears or Secateurs
- A Garden Hoe
- Chainsaw Or Hedge Trimmer
- A Soil Rake
- A Lawn Mower
- A Bin Liner
Step1 – Assess the Situation
The first step in clearing an overgrown allotment is to assess the situation. How big is the area that needs to be cleared? What type of vegetation is growing there? This will help you to identify the areas that need the most work and to develop a plan of action. If the overgrowth is primarily grass and weeds, then you may be able to simply mow the area. However, if there are large bushes or trees, then you may need to use more heavy-duty tools such as a chainsaw or hedge trimmer.
It is important to consider the time of year when you undertake this project. Winter is generally the best time to clear an overgrown allotment, as the ground is soft and wet and the vegetation is dormant.
Step 2 – Clear the Perimeter of The Area
To clear an overgrown allotment, start by removing any weeds or undesirable plants from around the edges of the garden. This will help you identify and manage your growing spaces more easily, as well as make the area look tidier. Use a gardening fork or shovel to dig out any weeds that are deeply rooted, pulling them from the ground by their roots if possible. You can then dispose of these waste plants either in your compost heap or in the trash.
Step 3 – Remove Larger Plants
Once the perimeter is clear, you can start removing the larger plants first, you can avoid unintentionally damaging smaller plants and flowers. In addition, large plants often have a deep root system that can make removal difficult so it can be a time-consuming process.
Step 4 – Cut Back Overgrown Bushes & Shrubs
After removing larger plants, cut back any overgrown bushes or shrubs. These can be mulched and used as compost or simply removed from the allotment. This will make it easier to access the plants that you want to keep, and it will also reduce the amount of work that you need to do in order to keep the plot tidy.
It is worth taking some time to thin out any overcrowded areas, as this will improve air circulation and help to prevent disease.
Step 5 – Dig Up the Weeds
Dig up any weeds that have taken root. Be sure to remove as much of the root system as possible to prevent regrowth. This can be a time-consuming task, but it’s important to remove as much of the root system as possible to prevent regrowth. If you have a large area to clear, it’s worth investing in a good pair of gardening gloves and a spade.
Step 6 – Clean Up
At the end, rake up any leaves or debris that has accumulated on the allotment, and dispose of them in your compost bin. With a little time and effort, you can keep your allotment looking its best.
Clearing an overgrown allotment can be a challenging task, but with the right tools and techniques, it is certainly possible. To get started, remove any larger plants or trees using a chainsaw or hedge trimmer. Next, clear out any weeds or undesirable plants along the perimeter of the garden to improve visibility and access. Once you have removed the larger plants, you can focus on cutting back any overgrown bushes or shrubs and digging up any weeds that have taken root. Finally, clean up the area by raking up any leaves or debris and disposing of them in your compost bin or green waste collection. With a little time and effort, you can keep your allotment looking its best.
Garden Doctor Tips
“If you opt to pull the weeds out by hand, make sure you get all of them because any left behind will grow back.”
“If the overgrowth is particularly dense, you may need to use a weed whacker or other power tool to clear it away.”
“It is important to work slowly and methodically, carefully trimming back the foliage until you have regained access to the plot.”
“If you’re going to use herbicide, read the label carefully to make sure you’re using a product that is safe for use around edible plants.”
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make my allotment low maintenance?
To make an allotment low maintenance, choose vegetables that are easy to care for and don’t require much maintenance.
Some good choices for vegetables that don’t require a lot of maintenance include lettuce, spinach, kale, chard, beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. These vegetables can be grown in a garden bed or in containers.
Should you dig over an allotment?
Yes, you should definitely dig over your allotment – this will help to aerate the soil and encourage healthy plant growth. Additionally, it’s a good idea to rotate crops every 2-4 years in order to prevent diseases and depletion of key nutrients in the soil.
What do you do with a waterlogged allotment?
If your allotment has become waterlogged, the best thing to do is to try and improve the drainage. One way to do this is to dig drainage ditches around the edge of the plot. You could also dig in a soakaway or grow crops that thrive in soggy soil such as cauliflower, asparagus, celery, mint, angelica, cabbage, cranberries, and raspberries.
How do you get rid of allotment weeds?
Weeds can be pulled out by hand, dug up, or killed by herbicides. If you’re using a herbicide, always read the label and follow the directions carefully. Always read the instructions carefully and ensure what you are using is safe around crops that are to be consumed.
Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.