Preparing allotment beds

Allotment year planner

Discover all you need to know about planning, starting and maintaining an allotment.

An allotment isn’t just a space for you to grow fruit and vegetables. It’s also a place where you can relax, be part of a community and get some exercise. With luck, patience and hard work, you’ll be rewarded with delicious, home-grown crops, not to mention the satisfaction of having raised them yourself.

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Browse our collection of inspirational ideas and practical advice on maintaining your allotment, below:


Starting an allotment

Woman in Vegetable Garden with Pet Labrador Dog, Getty Images.
Woman in Vegetable Garden with Pet Labrador Dog, Getty Images.

If you’ve never had an allotment before, taking one on can seem a bit daunting. Vacant allotment plots are rarely weed-free and ready to plant up. You may need to spend weeks digging out stubborn bramble, horsetail and couch grass. You might need to build or repair an existing shed or greenhouse, or import masses of manure to improve tired soil. But where to begin? Don’t worry, help is at hand. Follow our tips on getting started, below.


Your allotment year

Planting broad beans
Planting broad beans

The key to a successful allotment is to not take on more than you have the time for. It can take years to hone the skills and discipline needed to juggle the sowing of different crops, weeding, planting out, controlling pests and managing harvests.

Start with a few choice crops and see how you get on, then gradually increase your workload as you become more experienced. Stay organised, with the help of our monthly lists of allotment jobs:


Weeding

Weeding among brassicas
Weeding among brassicas

Keeping on top of weeding is one of the most important jobs on the allotment. Weeds often grow faster than vegetable crops and can out-compete them for water, nutrients and light. Regularly removing weeds will ensure your crops have everything they need to grow. What’s more, removing weeds when they’re young will save hours of back-breaking labour later on.


Feeding edible crops

Gardener making a liquid feed for plants
Gardener making a liquid feed for plants

Fruit and vegetable crops are hungry and will need a good balance of nutrients to thrive. We explain how to feed the soil, make your own organic liquid feeds and compost kitchen and garden waste:


Pest control

Gardener removing snail from plant
Gardener removing snail from plant

Allotment pests include slugs and snails, aphids, caterpillars of the large and small white butterflies, and birds. Find out how to deter, control and minimise the damage caused by pests, below.

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