Sunday, 18 April 2010

How to Manage your Fallow Areas

When you first get an allotment and arrive on site the first day, there is a feeling of being overwhelmed. Where do you start? The same feeling can arise each year when you start digging and planting. To try and get your head around the whole thing in one go won't work. 

The secret is to take each part of the allotment separately, and when you put your head down getting the early potatoes planted it's easy to forget those parts of the allotment you haven't sorted out just yet, or maybe setting aside to rest for a while.

It is far better to leave large areas of your plot fallow until you need them than to loose heart early on by trying to tackle it all at once. However, if they remain entirely unattended weeds will take hold and present you with a far worse problem to resolve.

The answer is to cover up all your uncultivated or dormant land to suppress perennial, unwanted plants and prevent new seeds blowing in and invading your land. You can use anything that blocks out the light: newspaper or cardboard break down, so will need topping up, but tarpaulins or black polythene last well. 

Avoid old carpets, though, as they can release harmful chemicals when they disintegrate. Weigh down your covers to stop the wind blowing them off, and leave them there protecting your soil right up until you're ready to tend it again.

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