There’s never been a better time for taking an allotment and the work as is not as unforgiving as many think. If you are at the start of your journey and are unsure how to find or apply for allotment space, take a look on the .Gov website. You’ll be able to enter your postcode and get directions to allotments local to you.
Tending to an allotment and harvesting your own fresh produce is one of the great joys in life. Unfortunately, obstacles and failures can leave even the most enthusiastic gardener feeling dejected.
Here’s a list of simple steps and solutions for both complete beginners and seasoned allotment gardeners to pin onto the potting shed wall as a reminder of the path to allotment nirvana!
Taking an allotment – starting a plot
Now is a good time to take on a new allotment, giving you plenty of time to clear and cultivate ready for next year. Get on any waiting lists now so you are in line for any plots that fall vacant before next spring.
Fruit is one of the most worthwhile investments you can make in planting an allotment. Early ordering from fruit suppliers ensures you can plant strawberries in early autumn, when they will crop next year. Currants and berry fruits such as raspberries are extremely heavy cropping and relatively few plants can set you up with enough jam and frozen fruit for a year.
Watch those weeds
Allotments tend to pick up a huge seed bank of dormant weed seeds over the years. Mulches may be inappropriate on vegetable beds so allow weeds to germinate before planting or sowing, and then eliminate them with very shallow hoeing. This creates a ‘stale seedbed’ where relatively few weeds will subsequently germinate. Don’t forget the old saying: ‘One year’s seeding gives seven years weeding’!
Watering can be a real chore in dry weather, especially as most allotment sites don’t allow the use of sprinklers and insist on dip tanks and watering cans. To make the most of limited water supplies, water crops only at key times and keep a water butt on site to collect rainwater.
Mind the (hunger) gap
April/May is a thin time for produce from the allotment unless you swing into action now to sow and plant. Spring cabbage and leaf beets can be sown late July to early August, salad and bulb onions also in August, followed by lettuce and spinach in early September. In the south of the country there is still time to get hold of leek plants for some late leeks in April. Carrots, broad beans and round-seeded peas can be sown in October for June pickings.
You can get an idea for the types of vegetables you’ll have success with on DeMuths Top 10 easy to grow vegetables for your garden or allotment.
For a full RHS guide to allotments visit Allotment basics. Topics cover everything to help get you started including how to find an available allotment, planning your plot, preparing the soil, dealing with security, and keeping pests at bay.
If you liked Taking an allotment – 5 simple steps success, you’ll find more expert vegetable growing tips on our Gardening channel.Tags: Allotments, Gardening Last modified: April 11, 2022