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I've just signed up for an allotment and in need of some encouragement.

There were 8 on offer, the better one's went to people further up the list. My choice was over grown with brambles/ trees or over grown with stones/tree's. I opted for over grown and stones/tree's with what look like hundreds of rashberries canes growing randomly over the plot. Part of the ground was covered over with plastic and old carpet which was the attraction, me thinks the weeds will have died and if they are rashberry canes the roots will be near the surface.

Some of the stones resembled boulders, so it's fair to say the ground is stony, don't think I'll be able to pick them up but the plot's on a slight slope, another attraction they can be rolled down to the bottom and there'll be good drainage.

The tree's had been cut down and are going to be treated so the roots die but one tree remains, someone looking round today throught it a cherry tree. I thought it looked deseased, the bark was spilt at it's trunk and there were tiny orange modules on it but it has to be left for a year before the people in charge will consider cutting it down but I can prune it.

Eventually I'd like the beds to be defined with paths.... should I put all the stones at the bottom with a view to putting a shed on them...was also thinking they could be used to make paths...

I've stuff in the back garden which me thinks should be transplanted currant /gooseberry bushes... rubarb...but the plot isn't ready

Were to start... I'm going next weekend to make a start...suggestions would be helpful...would it be cheeky to ask other plot holders were they started...



How exciting .  Never had an allotment so can't give first hand advice, but i would certainly ask other plot holders - it will be good to get some advice, but also to make some friends


good news Zoomer just take it easy to start and no it wouldnt be cheeky im sureother plot holderswill be helpful


Hi Zoomer, how exciting!  I think you're doing the right thing by thinking about it and planning before you start - no point in moving lots of heavy things only to have to move them again later!  Once you have a plan I would tackle each section separately, do that section really well and dig out every bit of root.  That way you will quickly start to see results rather than viewing it as one huge pile of work to do every time you think about it.   Using the stones/rocks to help drainage or as a base for a shed seems sensible to me.  For paths I would suggest laying weed membrane first and then covering with bark or whatever else you decide upon.

We took an allotment on Oct 12 which had not been used for 4 years so understand where you are coming from

We devised a plan , first was a shed , then divided it into sections and started clearing a bit at a time , we created smallish beds easy to plant and manage while still sorting it out , finished clearing the last bit Oct 13

We decided to take all the rubbish and weeds to the tip

Best of luck , it has been brilliant 


Another idea , our Allotment Society has an arrangement with a local Tree / landscaper surgeon who drops his tree / bush shredding so that people just help themselves , I use them for paths between beds 

In fact I have been up the Allotment today and relayed paths , 20 wheel barrow loads

Have a word with the committee to see if it is possible at your site

Orchid Lady
Fantastic Zoomer, no suggestions as a newbie - I'll leave that to the more experienced - but good luck with it.

Thanks for all the encouragement. Was thinking of clearing the bottom first. A shed will mean somewhere to shelter in between showers, also need to get some wellies .

Whilst I'm clearing the site, to start with, over the next couple of months, I'd like to put in some long term plants which need little maintance, plants I hope will do well, stuff I'm familiar with and grows in the back garden, so, would like to transplant some fruit bushes, could they be transplanted late February along with rubarb or even transplanted March?...and how late can raspberry canes be planted?.  


I planted my Polka autumn fruited raspberries last Feb Zoomer - they fruited really well 

Orchid Lady
I'll be interested to see the replies re moving the fruit bushes as I am thinking of moving mine and the rhubarb, but only a few feet.

Congratulations Z44. I got mine last yr-love it. I was there yesterday weeding the soft fruit patch.Perfect way to keep fit! You will find fellow plotters very friendly helpful eager to share their knowledge, plants and harvest too.

Just take it easy-so easy to get carried away with the excitement of the plot. Its hard work but so worth it.

GW mag just arrived and has veg planner-perfect.


Woodgreen wonderboy

Invite all the fit young things in your family. Lay on food and a few bottles, and tools and Bob's your uncle.

No problem in moving Rhubarb , as long as you have " bud " and don't pick any for the  first year to let it build its self up again , a bit of compost/mulch around it helps , lots of good advice on GW and RHS web sites

Have not moved fruit bushes so can't help but  with a bit of TLC , they should be OK !


Wow, this place changes quicker than the summer garden that's fantastic news Zoomer44 and so quick.

Most importantly now you have your allotment, enjoy it and good luck.

Dividing your plot into sensible portions from which you can work from either side is a good idea as you don't compact the soil that you dig. Raspberries can be moved/planted this time of the year but not when the ground is frosty. Cut them right down when planted and don't expect fruit until the following year. Many make the mistake of fruiting in the first year and it weakens any plant for future years.


Congrats - I agree with GWRS about clearing a small bit first to start growing some manageable crops so you can appreciate some veg/salad fairly quickly, all the while planning about where you want beds/paths/sheds etc.

We did this with our allotment for the first year (growing salad crops, spring onions, runner beans and beetroot etc, and only in our second year finished making the beds and also a planting plan of what was going to go where.

Good luck!  Just need this weather to improve now, its getting boring!


my advice would be : don't let it become a chore. As others have said, start small. Don't think you have to have it all up and running in one season. If you find it's too much, just use an area you can manage comfortably. If it's a chore, you'll hate it and give up. There's no shame in having part of the plot covered with a weed membrane as others have suggested. Remember ,the most important thing is that you enjoy it.I've known lots of people who are overwhelmed and give up. Start small, see results, and that will spur you on to the next bit. Good luck, AND ENJOY IT!!

Deanos Diggin It

Got mine Jan 2012, and I did a serious planning out as to the layout, before I got stuck in!  What I wanted regards structures, sheds, greenhouse, polytunnel etc, then set too with a strimmer n brushcutter! cleared the working area first, so afore mentioned  buildings could be erected, conciously knoking there was going to be a lot of hard work, I set up 3 temp beds in the growing area n sowed just a few stuff in way of return so as not to get disheartened


 The results from them 3 little beds really speared us on!

 And here we ar Two years in!



 As others have said, a bit at a time, there will be blood, sweat n tears! But It's been "Bloody Good Fun" and the rewards we reap now are second to none! So "Go Break a Leg" All the very best to you with it Zoomer!


Well done Deano. I've rarely seen a better looking plot.

Thanks again, lots of good advise providing lots of idea's...starting work on the plot doesn't seem so overwelming now...

Deano, those pictures are truely inspiring. Will take some before, during and after pictures... 

The plot hasn't been worked for several years and it's on a slope.I'm thinking, tiered beds. There is no fencing or compost bins, and there are rabbits and squirels which frequent the allotments so I'm searching for pallets for a fence and big  brother has just donated a wheel barrow to the cause. 

I'm gonna go for it with the fruit bushes, I can prepare a site for them and will aim to transplant at the end of February, they will be the initial inspiration to keep going.

Was going to start clearing the bottom of the plot for a shed, placed on a bed of levelled stones and boulders, it will be a place to shelter from the rain and store tools instead of bringing them each time.

I haven't got any wellies yet but Rome wasn't built in a day.

I'm currently hoping it doesn't rain this weekend and searching online for a shed, wellies and how to prune a fruit tree...