Plotopia Progress – Week 4

Relatively little progress this week unfortunately.  I did however get the intended tasks done – namely, preparing 80 sqm at the top of the plot, ready for shed and greenhouse bases to be installed.

The soil, once weeds have been removed and clumps broken down, really is quite beautiful.  It’s very fine and workable for a good 18 inches or so, before it starts becoming a bit more ‘solid’.

I managed to get everything I’d hoped to do done ahead of schedule, but unfortunately, doing so caused me to pull some muscles.  As a result, a few days of rest and recovery are needed now.

Beautiful soil, ready for bases (this is half the area)

The next task is to get the shed and greenhouse bases in place.  Alongside that, I also need to weed and prepare the rest of the plot.

Given the damage I’ve managed to do to myself preparing a quarter of the plot so far, I’m now evaluating the best way to move forward.  I need to either take it a bit easier, or perhaps rotavate the remainder.  Each has it’s own pros and cons.


My preference is to dig and weed by hand. In the long run I know I’ll have removed more weeds, and well it’s generally just more satisfying!  However, as we’re now in Autumn and the weather is only going to get worse, I’m also conscious of the fact that I need to make the most of every clear break in weather.  Therefore, ‘taking it easy’ is easier said than done – especially with so much to be done.

Using a rotavator will obviously be quicker and less strain on my body, and based on the soil quality, should be fairly straightforward.  The downside is the risk of multiplying the weeds – couch grass in particular is a concern.  It has been suggested to me that continually rotavating as weeds reappear will gradually weaken them, which makes some sense.  That does however mean I’d need to purchase a rotavator, hiring one every time it’s needed wouldn’t be too cost-effective!

We have no power on site, as with most allotment sites, so I’m left looking at either petrol or battery-based rotavators.  We do have a petrol one on site, however it’s currently out of order with no ETA on the repair. I’m told it’s been breaking down a lot!  Despite the relatively short running time of the battery-based models (most quote 25-35 mins on each charge), the reviews are generally very positive. In all honesty, I suspect that would be enough on my soil.

If you have a battery-powered rotavator in particular, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

For now, I’m taking a few days of rest before moving forward.


Lee Bailey

Organic Allotmenteer, RHS Student, Husband, Father & Programmer

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