It has been an interesting couple of months on the allotment; work ground to halt in early September as I had a knee operation but things seem to be coming along. At my last post in August I managed to get a few seeds into the ground and we had a small crop of turnips and lettuce.
However, the area of ground I had prepared in the summer turned into a lawn of grass in about a week. So you can imagine what that felt like! I have to say it was bloody depressing as I have spent quite a bit of time on it in the summer. However I did have one small consolation in that someone else took over a similar plot to me about 3 plots up and they did exactly the same as me and they have the same problem. So I decided to ask some of my neighbours about what to do and I got a few suggestions/comments:
One chap said just rotivate it and see what happens.
Another said they had a similar problem and they rotivated it and the grass came back.
And another told me that I had to weed the whole patch - and that there was no short cut. So I have let the grass grow to about 6 inches, I fork it up, grab the grass, shake the soil out and dump the grass and roots in the compost bin! And I have to keep doing this across the whole patch.
Digging the whole patch like this is a lot of work and I wanted to make sure it would work. So I ran a couple of sample patches and left it for a few weeks and lo and behold no grass grew back - my neighbour also said that the best time to dig was in late Oct and Nov and to forget it in the summer. So I am now in the process of digging half of the allotment. It is actually quite hard work and after about 2 hours you really have had enough.
I have also decided to try a different approach on another part of the allotment - on this part I have put down some Roundup and sheeted it with black matting - I have been told that the combination of the weed killer and matting should do the trick - well, we'll have to wait and see.
From what I have picked up then there is no short cut and it is all preparing the ground and trying to stop on top of the weeds.
Still there is no great rush to have it all ready right now as there is little you can plant at the moment.