How to get started on your allotment

So you just got your first plot, you now need to work out your first steps to ensure your plot is running in the best way possible.

Things to think about

  • how much space do you have?
  • how was it previously laid out?
  • are there any sheds, compost bins, bushes or existing beds that can be used?

Tools you will need

the minimum tools you will need for any allotment:

  • digging fork
  • digging spade
  • sharp hoe

If you can, a wheel barrow is also helpful but it is not essential.  Any other tools would just aid in making your life easier.

Planning your Plot

It is probably the best idea to work out what you plan to grow as well as the size of the beds you would like.You will need to keep in mind how much space you will need for sheds, compost bins, water butts etc. By considering where you want to place large items and any plants that will stay in the ground year on year can help to make use of the space that you have.  Think about where you want to plant any fruit trees or bushes and perennial vegetables or fruit such as rhubarb.  It is important to place these in the right place first time because they take a few years to establish and start cropping and will be set back if you have to move them.

Preparing the Plot

The plot may be a little overgrown due to it being left for a while.  To stop it from getting any worse, you will need to control it by removing any rubbish, cutting everything to ground level and digging it over to remove any weeds.  A  tarpaulin can be used to inhibit weeds if you are not planting straight away. Digging and preparing beds may seem like a chore, but once you see the difference it makes it’s easier to motivate yourself.  If you do only one thing, add as much well-rotted manure or compost as you can to the soil.

Start Growing

Once you have planned everything and have all the correct tools, you can start digging. We would suggest doing small sections and taking your time. When all the beds are clear, you can start growing on your first bed.   Keep it simple if you have never grown before and start with crops that are easy to cultivate.  You can buy in plants so not everything has to be raised from seed.  Radishes, salads, potatoes and beans are all reliable crops.  Ensure what you are growing is in season and have fun.

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