Plot 5b: what does it take to transform a ‘half plot’?

Plot 5b – Before and After

What does it take to clear 125 sqm of growing space (a half plot)?

  • 4 days of hacking out brambles/raspberries, rough clearing and covering.
  • 25 hours of digging out perennial weeds = 2x 1 ton builders bags full of couch/bindweed roots, creeping buttercup and strawberry runners to rot down. Spread over 3 weeks.
  • 3 days laying a base and putting up a greenhouse
  • Another 3-4 days building coldframes, laying flags and raised beds.

In Dec 2019 we took on Plot 5b. This is our 4th plot (2.5 plots in total). The plan is that we may give up one of the other half plots once we have 5b established. It is so much more convenient to have plots right next to each other so when this half plot came up with snapped up the opportunity.

Unfortunately quite a bit of work would be required to get the plot into shape, but that didn’t put us off: we have cleared plenty of weedy plots before!

This is the quickest we have turned a plot around and these timescales are not for the faint-hearted. I am not quite so sure Anthony approved of my planned timescales, but he is used to getting dragged along with my allotment projects and I was really keen to get the plot into cultivation this Spring. Bear in mind there are 2 of us – both (relatively) young, physical able and without kids or pets in tow! Hopefully this will inspire some of you as to what can be done.

If you have taken a new plot it is much more manageable to work sections over a longer period of time. This is why covering is so helpful. Take a look at our guide to getting started.

Around Christmas we tackled levering out out the brambles and raspberries which had taken over a good half of the plot. After much deliberation we made the decision to dig to clear the plot. Being a ‘No Dig’ convert this was a little disappointing, however having enough compost to mulch the new plot (and our other plots) just became unrealistic when our usual source of composted manure failed to materialise this winter. The plot really sat through January and Feburary with little progress – the constant rain meant digging wasn’t really possible. In March we covered the plot so we could prevent the weeds sprouting and we could tackle an area at a time. As the wet weather passed and the sun came out in April, we set into clearing determined to get the plot sorted for May!

We still have some work to do – completing paths, finishing the polyframe and coldframes. In winter we plan to convert this plot back to ‘No Dig’