We asked Elaine, one of our established plotholders for her advice on digging your plot.

So now you have an allotment. Your first and most important job is to dig the ground over. This loosens the soil (which is a living organism) and aerates it. Now pull out ALL bad weeds, couch grass, nettle, dock and bindweed. Not one tiny piece should be left otherwise the problems just re-grow.

To help with this you need a spade or fork you can handle. I use smaller border implements as they are easier to use. You need to dig spade or fork depth, that means pushing the tool right to the hilt with your foot. Loosen the soil and take out all roots that you find. Knock off all soil – this is needed to feed your crops.

Skimming the top of your plot is not only hard work but also only a quick fix. The weeds are up again in a few weeks because you left the roots behind. Plus it is a waste of good soil.

Work a small area at a time because it is a big job and always look back at what you have already dug. Small weeds will start to grow but are easy to hoe off. It is a constant battle but you are the boss and the clearer you keep your plot, the bigger, better and more succulent your crops will be. The weeds take the nutrients that your crops need.

And remember, if you aren’t sure, just ask.

Elaine, Plot 6