Have you ever thought about growing your own fruit and vegetables but lack the space in your own garden? Find out all you need to know about how to start an allotment from scratch along with our beginner planting suggestions.
How to start an allotment:
- Plan your plot
If there is no space for crops in your garden, contact your local council on allotment opportunities in your area. Once get your allotment, go for a plot size suited to your needs – half a plot is adequate for most people and ideal for beginners. Here are some initial plot planning steps:
- Decide what style of vegetable beds you’d like
- Decide what size of beds you’d like.
- Make sure you include space for sheds / greenhouses / compost bins / water butts etc.
- Make sure you consider where you’ll place trees, fruiting bushes, and other perennial (stay in the in the ground year on year) plants.
2. Weed maintenance
The biggest burden of an allotment owner…the weeds, and most allotments need continual hoeing and weeding. When prepping a plot, once you’ve cleared the weeds, dig the soil and remove weed roots. It’s worth investing in a push hoe and a draw hoe to be fully prepared for any weed problems.
- Potatoes smother weeds, so plant them in the weediest areas.
- Perennial crops such as fruit need no cultivation, but must be planted in areas that are clear of all perennial weeds.
3. Soil conditions
Once you get out all the roots of the weeds. Compost their foliage, and drown the roots in a bucket of water for 2 months (then you can add them to a compost heap). Turn a layer of compost into the first 5 –10cms of the soil and you are ready to plant!
Beginner plants for allotments:
Here’s our selection of plants for allotment beginners:
- Perennial fruits – tomatoes, strawberries and blueberries.
- Herbs – parsley, rosemary, thyme and mint.
- Edible flowers – passiflora and cynara cardunculus.
Allotment seasonal guide:
In late winter, rains should have restored the soil to full moisture levels, if they have not left it soggy, battered and emptied of nutrients. You can get some crops off to a good start, although on difficult clay soils transplants raised indoors might be necessary.
Getting plants going well before late spring is essential. Crops grow best during the long, warm days and sunshine of late spring to late summer.
Wet, but not too wet, summers are far better for allotments than hot, dry ones; crops need water to grow.
By autumn, growth is tailing off in lower light levels, so little rain is needed; warm, dry weather is better for ripening produce now. Beware of wet weather that can lead to rots and unripe produce that won’t store well.
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