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06/03/2014 at 18:03

Hello all you experts out there, I'm in the very fortunate position of getting an allotment, but never having had one before I'd love some advice please!

Its been cleared and I'm raring to go!!

what to grow,

where to buy seed from,

what equipment would you consider essential?

all posts gratefully accepted!!

Thank you

06/03/2014 at 18:26

Congrats on getting an allotment.It's a great time to start with Spring on the way. First thing I would say is to take things one step at a time and not to try and grow everything in your first year or two. Pick the veg and fruit you love to eat and grow them first.

Its always nice to have veg throughout the year so grow some winter stuff such as parsnips, leeks etc.

The tools I would'nt be without are fork, spade, rake, hoe and trowel, a garden line to help get straight lines when sowing is a useful addition too.

Good luck and the taste of fresh veg makes all the work worth while.

06/03/2014 at 18:37
I have just written a load of 'advice ' to your post, and lost the whole thing !

Grow, onions, parsnips, peas,broad beans, runner beans, a corner for rhubarb, another corner for composting, a SHED !!!!!! fruit canes, greens, ie, purple sprouting broccoli, red cabbage, whatever and wherever your whim and fancy take you. Patience is the watch word. Seeds come up as and when they feel like it ! Don't peep to see if they're doing anything ! If you have the space, some seed trays, pots and more pots and trays !!!!

Tools: string, dibber, a long-ish plank or board to walk upon when sowing or planting. Netting and short canes for supporting the netting. containers for storing the seed packets, a trowel, fork, spade, netting for runner beans, sweet peas, a corner for a bee hive, scavenge, liberate, beg borrow or steal anything, and become a true allotmenteer ! Make friends with a stable, farmer who has plenty of muck fresh or otherwise. You can brew it up on your place if it's too fresh.

Buy seed from any reasonable shop. Even Wilko's at a stretch., but More Reasons, Homebase, wherever. All the seeds are much of a muchness.
Go by the simple acronym, KISS...... keep it simple stupid.
Have a wonderful time, and slow down. Let it all happen !
06/03/2014 at 18:43

Best bit of advice I was given when I got an allotment - never be afraid to ask 

The other allotmenteers  are full of information and experience of the soil and conditions that you have to work with - and most people are so flattered to be asked for advice

And one other tip - don't try to do it all at once - but remember that Nature abhors a vacuum so if you've got bare soil the weed seeds will find it, so read up a bit on green manures - different types for different times of the year - and don't be afraid to sprinkle a few green manure seeds on part of the allotment and keep that bare soil covered 

06/03/2014 at 22:22

my advice would be, adding to the great advice already offered: when you've had enough, give up. Never let it become a chore, a burden. When you're tired, GO HOME. If you can't manage the whole plot, cover some of it and leave it until next year. Remember, it's fun, not a chore. Nobody will think badly of you if you have a 1/2 allotment which is lovely , compared with a whole allotment  which is a bit  shabby.

06/03/2014 at 23:15

First and foremost.  SLOW DOWN!  Sit down and let your thought s work this out.  So you have a plot.  All turned over, just waiting to be sown/planted up.  OK.  So! when you applied for the plot.  What did you have in mind?  Did you wish to extend your gasrden, did you have grand ideas of growing all your vegies etc.  Please friend.  Sit down.  Take a breather.  Time up!.  So what do you wish to grow?

06/03/2014 at 23:21

Try to find lots of free pallets to make a compost heap.

Best tools for me a spade, hoe, hand held cultivator for weeding rake 

Raised beds are good

http://www.youtube.com/user/rickvanman?feature=watch   He makes good allotment videos bit by bit

07/03/2014 at 06:38

as a allotment holder for many years I agrea with most things said ,but I do buy a lot from wilko and have found it ok.the main thing is go steady and do abit at a time ,when things don't grow just right or the slugs have gone to town and eaten a lot then just say there is always next year.dont grow to much of one thing, I now have 3 freezers at home.enjoy and good luck

07/03/2014 at 09:02

Grow what you like to eat. Simple

07/03/2014 at 11:22

Carol , when we got our first allotment the ground was a field,we cleared the top and had to import about 11 tons of top soil so you can understand we meant business,, the best 2 things we did were 1 got a shed 2 talked to everybody and anybody on the allotments,after seeing the hard work we put in, the most knowledgeable allotmenteers waited till we put the kettle on and came to say hello,from that cup o tea came loads of info and loads of   " i got to many  these have you got room for them on your allotment" ), spuds, rhubarb,you name it we were given it, now we do the same in return, dont forget you only make mistakes in a hurry Enjoy and good luck.

 

19/03/2014 at 04:26
The most disheartening and contradictory thing about advice is, (depending on whether you're receiving or delivering ) is receiving, you have to act upon it, delivering, you don't have to act upon it ! It all boils down to, do what you want, after sieving all the stones from the soil. ~Grow what you want, dig, spread muck, dig and tickle,Common sense is, when you eventually learn enough about your plot, and go with the flow. Rhubarb is a mild mannered space invading thug, but at least you can use it. Give it space ! Everything else is pure experimentation, experience and fun.
28/03/2014 at 22:50
Spuds.................. seed spuds.......... the best results I have had are with ordinary shop bought spuds for the table and they have started sprouting in the cupboard ! Throw them in the ground and let them do their thing, and they'll be as good as any seed spuddies you'll get in the gdn centre ! This year, I am trying out planting some broad beans into a wider row than usual, and then down the middle, pop in a single row of onions. This is to see if the onion sets will deter the black fly on the broads, later on in the growth. As the cropping time is roughly the same , I see it only as a practical experiment. Any comments ? or am I too controversial ?
29/03/2014 at 00:19

Set up a compost bay a good spade and fork hoe rake wheelbarrow plant borage comfray to aid in composting and be prepared for hard work and some disappointment and lots of rewards 

29/03/2014 at 01:00

ENJOY! I could not get an allotment when in England, but now have quite a good sized garden.

As said before, don't try to do too much too soon. I started with 2 raised beds, 8x4', a chicken pen that I turned into a raspberry cage,then 5, now 6 raised beds and some smaller ones just for veg. And lots of borders. My lawn shrinks every yr when I find something else to grow. Sometimes I can't wait for the kids to grow so I can steal thier play area! But then who would eat my veg?

Your allotment will naturally evolve. Who was it who said 'don't sweat it'? 

If all is cleared, keep it covered until you need it. Green manures, carpet, cardboard, straw, polythene, anything that will keep those weeds down. Compost area essential. Tools to suit. Greenhouse or polytunnel if you are allowed one.

Well done on all your hard work.We expect pics, you know. A condition of asking advice

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