The benefits of owning allotments

It’s National Allotments Week! In order to understand the benefits of having an allotment, let’s first look at why people get allotments in the first place. Gardening has become the latest trend over the past year. With more people home than ever before, the garden has become a great place to focus on. But not everyone has a garden big enough to start growing flowers, or seasonal fruit and vegetables. Well, good thing allotments exist! Plots of land given to community members so you’re able to start growing all the fruits and vegetables you desire. Here are some of the benefits to owning an allotment…

1. Promotes a healthier lifestyle

An allotment is a great way to start eating healthier and encouraging a more nutritious diet. If planned and maintained properly, before long you’ll have a mighty harvest that can be enjoyed year on year. Only getting bigger as you become more experienced. The rewards that your allotment bears are a great factor to consider, harvesting and using your own crops is a great accomplishment and knowing that you’re consuming homegrown, pesticide-free, super-nutritious fruit and vegetables seals the deal. Also, when growing perennial fruit and vegetables, your allotment starts to give back and can become a cost-effective way of living.

2. A good source of exercise

Gardening is hard work. Before the plants start to flower and the fruits and vegetables bloom there is a lot of planning and labour. When you first get your allotment, it’s not going to look like your neighbours. Remember, this is just a plot of wild land that hasn’t yet been tamed. It’ll be an intensive cleaning up process and that’s just the beginning. From sectioning parts, using some DIY skills, and help from neighbours, it’ll take some time before your allotment looks picture perfect. Once that is done, there is even more work to do, from planting, watering and maintenance. The best part of this process is that not only are you working at your own pace but you’re exercising without even knowing it!

3. Gets the children involved

Owning an allotment doesn’t have to be a solo project, get the children involved too! There are loads of child friendly fruits and vegetables that can help them get involved and excited about healthy foods. With their own little planting projects and space in the allotment (that can be decorated to their hearts content), it can turn allotment trips into fun outings, and also get children interested in fruits and vegetables at a young age. Harvesting season is fun for everyone, but especially children, picking their own food and tasting it fresh from the plant, only promotes sustainability and the benefits that gardening has.

4. Reduces your carbon footprint

Allotments are great for the environment and lowering your personal carbon footprint. By growing your own produce over buying shop-bought alternatives, it limits the amount of wasted packages you’re using. Also, by growing organic vegetables and limiting the amount of pesticide used will protect the soil from any harmful chemicals.

5. Creates a great community

One of the best reasons to own an allotment is the amazing community that comes with it. Keeping an allotment is a great way to make new friends and meet people from your local area. Whether you’re a gardening pro or novice, there are loads of people from different walks of life that all come together to foster the community. Get to know your neighbours, share the latest gardening gossip and help each other out wherever you can!

Green spaces in urban areas are extremely vital places that need to be preserved in order to contribute to the biodiversity to the area. If you’re thinking about starting your own allotment, act fast! The waiting lists are long but worth it, especially if you’re going to make good use out of them!

Thinking of starting your own allotment? Here are some starter tips:

How to Start an Allotment

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:

  1. 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:

Allotment seasonal guide:

Winter ❄

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.

Spring 🌸

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.

Summer ☀

Wet, but not too wet, summers are far better for allotments than hot, dry ones; crops need water to grow.

Autumn 🍂

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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