GROWING FRUIT AND VEGETABLES ON YOUR ALLOTMENT
HOW TO FIND AN ALLOTMENT
The process for finding an existing allotment is not complicates, simply search on the internet for your local council offices, phone them up and ask for a list of allotments in your area. It may take a bit of time to do that but every council is obliged to provide the information. In most cases however, you will find a massive waiting list for the allotments and to put it crudely you will be waiting for existing allotment holders to either die or move from the area. There’s no way round the problem of waiting lists unless you want to start your own new allotment group.
HOW TO START AN ALLOTMENT
We have seen and been involved in the start-up of two allotments in the last three years and both have been very different propositions. The current allotments involved very short and helpful negotiations with a local famer. Within three months the allotments were ours at £12.50 per half allotment a year. No change of use was required from the local council because the land was already classified as agricultural.
The previous allotments, by comparison, were a nightmare. Click here if you want to know went wrong with setting up the allotments, what we eventually did to resolve the situation and lots more useful advice, hints and tips.
PLANNING OUT YOUR ALLOTMENT
When you first get possession of your allotment the temptation is to start planting and digging as soon as possible. A little planning at the outset can however pay off with far better results in the long term. Some of the key elements to planning out your allotment include the position of the sun, any trees etc which can can cast shadow and draw nutrients from the soil, access and paths and lots more. Read our full article about planning out your allotment here, we have recently just completed our planning exercise so it’s all fresh in our minds with lots of useful information for your new allotment.
Key to growing healthy crops on an allotment is a good crop rotation plan. This is simply a plan to move crop groups round your allotment each year to avoid planting the same group of crops on the same land each year. This avoids the build up of diseases and helps to avoid deficiencies in the contents of your soil. Key culprits for causing problems when panted in the same position each year are potatoes, tomatoes, onions leeks, cabbage, cauliflower and several others.
So, if you want healthy crops in the long term it’s best to devise a cop rotation plan before you start working on your allotment. Click here for our easy to understand crop rotation plan which easily explains the various groups of plants and proposes a very good rotation plan.
CLEARING AND DIGGING AN ALLOTMENT
There are many, many approaches to clearing an allotment and much depends on the state of the allotment when you acquire it. Some allotments are farm land and may simply be covered with grass. Other allotments can be wild blackberry infested plots with a variety of hard to clear weeds thrown in for good luck.
We can’t go through every combination that can be found on a new allotment but there are some basic rules and decisions which need to be considered and getting these correct for your allotment and your preferences is another key element to a good allotment. Click here for our full article on clearing and digging your allotment where we consider subjects such as using chemicals to clear weeds, using a powered rotovator, using mulches to clear weeds and much more.
WHAT TO GROW ON YOUR ALLOTMENT
The choice of what to grow on an allotment is a very personal one, the simple answer might be to grow those crops you like best. But you need to initially consider soil and moisture conditions – are these correct for the crops you want to grow? How to improve their conditions and how long will it take? In the meantime, raised beds are often an excellent solution to temporary soil and moisture problems. We consider these and several other factors in growing different crops on your allotment. Don’t forget our vegetable and fruit articles as well, they have dates which can be customised to your particular area of the UK and once set they are set forever. What other site does that for you!?