It’s not very often you get to take over an old allotments or an allotment from a previous owner where it is completely weed free normally taking over an allotment can be a bit of a nightmare as its often overgrown with grass and brambles.
As you are going to grow vegetables in your allotment using a chemical weed killer is not really on option a more organic method is needed. Firstly remove all the rubbish on our allotment, next strim or cut down the brambles, weeds and long grass. Plus if the allotment is uneven try to level it as best you can.
With the allotment level you can now lay a black plastic covering to exclude the light. Ideally this plastic covering should be of a woven construction which is stronger than a more plastic sheeting.
The plastic sheeting will need to be pegged to the ground to stop it moving in the wind etc.
The GardenAdvice team us a Mypex ground cover sheeting.
With the plastic sheeting in place you can still grow a number of crops such as potatoes and tomatoes, runner beans etc. These can be planted through the sheeting as tubers or young plants by making small cross cuts in the plastic sheeting. Potatoes have the added advantage of cleaning up the soil and creating a very easy to work soil once the plastic is removed.
Before planting crops through the plastic were the allotment has been overgrown you might have to wait a few months for the weeds under the plastic sheeting to die down.
If you are intending to grow crops through the sheeting its a good idea before the sheeting is laid to install a drip irrigation or leaky hose system under the sheeting which will make the task of watering much easier.
Ideally the plastic needs to be in place for a full 12 months or over the winter months to produce a fairly weed free and workable soil once the plastic is removed it’s not going to remove 100% of the weeds but the ones that remain will be controllable if you continue to work on soil and work the allotment.