Alan covers everything from dealing with different types of soil and the best hoes to use, to the importance of using a garden line for sowing, and a kneeling mat to enable you to work for longer and more comfortably. He even stresses the importance of having a trug basket at the ready, to harvest your crops and enjoy for a homegrown lunch.
Are you properly equipped for growing fruit and vegetables? Find out with our short video guide.
Keep your tools in tip-top condition – our experts have put together a round-up of the best garden sheds so you can buy with confidence and store your equipment safely and securely, protected from the elements.
The best allotment essentials in 2023
Smaller than a digging spade a border spade lifts less soil so it’s easier to use and allows you to work for longer.
A border fork is great for digging over stony or clay soil. You can also use the back of the fork to break down clods of earth to create a finer tilth.
To help you find the best border fork for your allotment, our experts have compiled a useful guide to the best garden forks on the market, tried and tested.
The perfect levelling tool a rake is run back and forth across the surface of the soil to create a fine tilth for seed sowing.
There are lots of different types of hoe. A swan neck hoe is good for slicing weeds off at the root and for getting in between rows.
Check out our buyer’s guide to the best garden hoes with a video for help on choosing the right one for your veg plot, and read up on some of our garden hoe reviews to point you in the right direction.
A draw hoe is good for weeding but is also useful for drawing drills in the ground ready for seed sowing and for pulling the soil back over the seeds.
A plank, laid on the ground next to drills or planting rows, stops you walking on newly dug and levelled soil and helps to avoid compaction and keep the ground even.
Useful when you’re seed sowing, planting and hand weeding a kneeler will protect your knees and keep them dry.
Find the right kneeler for you with our expert tests, rounded up in our guide to the best garden kneelers.
A sturdy hand trowel is useful for planting out vegetable plants and onion sets.
A garden line, pushed into the soil and stretched taut will help you plant and make seed drills in a straight line.
Just the thing for collecting your harvests!
To help you find the right garden trug for your produce, we’ve rounded up some of the best garden trugs on the market for you to check out.
What is an allotment?
An allotment is an area of land where plot-holders can grow crops and flowers, while also being a place of relaxation and somewhere you can feel part of a community. The land is usually owned by a local authority or other organisation, and will have an allotment site manager to oversee things. There is normally a waiting list for the plots and specific tenancy rules to be observed – these can differ from site to site.
For useful advice on the dos and don’ts of allotments, check out our guide to allotment etiquette, and browse our allotment year planner guide for everything you need to know to make the most of your plot.
How to start an allotment
Are you considering applying for an allotment or have you just got one? Our experts have put together a helpful guide on how to start an allotment from scratch, with advice on when to clear it and tips on successful allotmenteering. Here are the key takeaways.
Once you’ve got your allotment plot, start clearing it as soon as possible. You should ideally do this over the autumn and winter months. Get rid of away debris and rubbish and dig out any unwanted plants and weeds. Dig into the soil to remove weed roots – it’s best to do this at least twice, so you don’t miss anything.
Next up is selecting how you’ll organise your plot – you can build raised beds or grow your crops directly in the ground. Add compost to the soil to increase its organic content. If you’ve cleared the plot before spring, cover the ground with cardboard or black sheeting to stop rain washing the nutrients away and deter weed growth.
Come spring, you’ll have clear weed-free ground, ready for seed sowing and planting.