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Recycling on allotment

Posted by on May 7th 2014

The allotment at Pandy in the Welsh Borders has become a showcase for recycling. We realised early on running an allotment could end up being an expensive business so naturally we are creating from what we have. Recycle, Reuse and Revive has become our motto. Firstly we borrowed black plastic from a neighbour to lay out on a patch of unwanted weed and grass, left in the sunshine this killed off the underlying vegetation ready to be dug and weeded. As we took out huge tufts of grass we would at first lie upside down on other grassed areas, slowing the growth of underlying vegetation. After a while we collected old compost bags and turned them inside out and lay on open areas around the fruit trees, the black side showing, absorbing the suns rays  to kill the grass beneath, the aforementioned tufts of grass when dug out were used as weight to keep the black plastic in place. Around the established rhubarb we placed cardboard from disused boxes, again weighted in place.

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Weeds are placed in their special compost pile under tarpaulin to die of naturally. Old rotting vegetables and our household peelings go in the regular compost bins that have been revived and showing more signs of life. Some of our equipment is recycled from elderly relations that have passed on… I feel very blessed to be using granddads fork, which he would of handled for many years, as his garden was his life until he died at a grand age of 95.

There are various old broken tools left on the allotment from the previous owner, and we don’t throw any of it away…used for weighting black plastic or two forks holding our dilapidated storage bin in place.

Nettles grow rampant and are farmed, pulled out and soaked in caught rainwater to make a nettle tea good for leafy vegetables. Coffee grinds are saved by our local coffee house to place round vulnerable plants as effective slug deterrent. the verdict is out on what is best to keep slugs at bay, cut up plastic water bottles make effective slug barriers, sprinkled broken down eggshells saved from breakfast deter the slimey beasts. Old cabbage leaves and lettuce are placed in an upturned bucket in the centre of the allotment as an attraction, kind of an “all in one buffet” to take slugs away from vulnerable young shoots.

Off cuts of wood from my husbands business line the paths to stop grass spreading. old bendy pipes with wire inserted dance about in the wind, finished off with ring pull can lids, they rattle and make great bird scarers, the other option being empty plastic bottles upended on canes.

Lastly a customer gave me 8 huge tubs of compost/soil, all of it is applied around vegetables for extra mulching and nutrients.

This is our first 6 weeks at the allotment for news and photographs please go to

http://www.greenfriends.org.uk/nature-tips/archive/first-day-at-pandy-allotment/