Do you dig it?

Allotment looking a bit sorry for itself? Covered in weeds and looking beyond hope? This past year has been a bit of a disaster for me too. Family commitments left little time to do anything on the plot. Result? Weeds, weeds and more weeds.

Autumn is the perfect time to get back on top. The objective is to turn the soil so winter frost can get right into the ground. If your soil is easy to work, aim to remove all weeds. First job on each subsequent visit is to rake over the areas already worked to upset any new weeds.

Unlucky and have heavy clay soil? Don't worry too much about removing all the weeds. Your aim is to turn the land spadeful by spadeful, dumping the weeds upside down. The bigger the clods of earth the better. Frost will reach right into the earth to break up those lumps of clay. In early spring you can re-dig the land, now more easy to work, removing any remaining weeds.

You might think you can spend a whole afternoon digging for Britain, but pretty soon you'll be finding excuses to avoid another muscle-aching session. Much better to restrict yourself to a couple of hours or less. That's enough time to make progress without killing yourself. You'll be amazed how quickly you get the plot back under control.

Don't delay. Go get that spade and boots. Don't forget the coffee and cake for half time. Here's the result after my first tidy up session...

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