The photos show 'before' and 'after', generally taken from the same vantage point, two from the front, one of the blackcurrants/redcurrants, a view of bindweed 'ground cover', one of the old derelict poly tunnel and one of the old raised beds.

Much to the amusement of some of my neighbours I have used a pair of garden shears to cut down the bulk of the grass, which was tall but not dense, and loppers to cut back the tougher weeds. It is more common to use a blade on a brushcutter but I had enough of that while working. The only spade work I have done is spreading the contents of the waste heap, certainly not compost, digging out the old fruit bushes and rough levelling a few areas.

The plan is to go no-dig (see Charles Dowding's website) but, in the first instance, I need to get a relatively weed-free plot. I used to use Roundup but am aware that it has been banned in some countries due to fears about its harmful effects, so I am trying light starvation as an alternative to spraying, covering the weeds with black plastic or 'Mypex' type weed suppressant fabric. Under the area of plastic sheeting I merely pushed the long grass over, rather than cutting it back, so we shall see how that works. Ideally I would put compost or manure over the weeds before applying the Mypex so that the worms can get busy, but I haven't got any muck yet and am keen to cover the weeds asap. I will check under the plastic/Mypex after three months and then apply the muck mulch before replacing the sheeting. I think it will take six to twelve months before the covers can come off but I should be able to plant some widely spaced crops through the sheeting.

The old raised beds will be removed and the areas rough levelled. The wood is rotten and even has bindweed roots growing through it.