National Allotment Week
Allotment Tips for Beginners
Taking on an allotment for the first time can be both exciting and scary! In honour of National Allotment Week, here are some tips for allotment newbies to help send you on your way to fruit and veg success…
1. Plan your layout properly
Any experienced allotmenteer (!) will tell you that it pays to spend as long as possible planning your layout and thinking about how you’ll use it practically across the year. Don’t forget to consider how you’ll physically weave your wheelbarrow around your plot and where you’ll store your equipment.
2. Get rid of old equipment and plants
If you turn up to your plot and there’s lots of old equipment and decaying plants left over from the previous owner, be sure to clear everything away (once you’ve given it all a once over to check for any hidden treasures!) and start from scratch. You might be tempted to keep any old plants that are still going but it’s better to know exactly which plant varieties you have so you can properly care for them all. It might feel cruel but get rid (or donate!) and start again.
3. Be selective about the plants you grow
Don’t just pop to your local nursery and buy whatever’s there. Be selective and have a plan in place for the exact plants you want. It’s better to have a shopping list for most of the year so you can buy all your plants in one go, rather than to waste time and money buying a bit of this and a bit of that as and when.
4. Choose perennial produce too
Perennial plants that don’t need to be grown from seed every year really help if you can’t visit your allotment all that often. Plants like Asparagus, Artichokes, Raspberries, Rhubarb, and kitchen herbs will tick over quite nicely by themselves if your aim is to minimise workload and maximise food output. They still need maintenance, but you won’t be repotting and digging.
5. Think about how you’ll harvest
Lots of newbie allotment owners get caught up in all the excitement of sowing and growing and forget about the eventual picking, storing, and cooking of their produce! Learn to predict your best ‘picking days’ to get the most out of your plot and don’t forget that lots of veggies and fruit have a limited 1-2-day window when they’re perfect for eating.