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Starting An Allotment

Whether you’re an avid gardener who needs more room for their passion, or someone with no outdoor space at home who wants to start out, an allotment is a great plan. In this article we teach you the basic skills that you need to start your allotment and make it flourish. Don’t be intimated if you are surrounded by beautiful allotments that have been developing for the past 20 years. No doubt the owners were in your position once too. Getting started is always the hardest part, but once you get over the first hurdle your allotment will be well on it’s way to looking just as beautiful. So, how to start an allotment?

Visit the Allotment and get on a Waiting List

This may seem an obvious one, but the first step is getting yourself down there and seeing what plots are on offer. Many allotments have a waiting list! You may have to wait several months before a place becomes available for you. Often the thought of this puts people off, but you’ll thank yourself in a few months’ times when you get the call saying your new patch is ready. It’s also worth visiting to see where you’d like to be positioned on the allotment. If you’re not bothered about the wait, it’s worth being picky and choosing the spot that has the right sunlight and soil type for what you want to grow. You’d be surprised how much it can vary throughout the allotment. The location is also important if you are going to transport heavy materials.
Also think about the facilities you want the allotment to have. Do you simply want a patch of land or do you want to become a part of a group? Some allotments hold events for their members, share plants and have a deep sense of community, where as others just provide a plot. It may be a good idea to join an allotment with people who are willing to help you in your gardening journey, especially if you’re new to gardening.



Clear your Allotment

Your new allotment may come with old debris, rubbish and plants, especially if it has only recently been vacated. There could even be crops planted that you don’t know about. It’s always good to start a fresh and completely clear the allotment. Although you may want to keep some plants that look healthy, think carefully about what pesticides the previous owner may have used, particularly if you plan on eating your produce. In our opinion it is best to remove all debris and completely dig over the plot.

Plan your Allotment

Allotments come with limited space, and the more space you want, the more you have to pay. This is why it’s important to plan your allotment out so that you use your space wisely. Think about what you want to plant, how much of it you want and when it’s in season. Also think about pairing plants that work well together, such as marigolds as a pest repellent for strawberries. Try sectioning your allotment to make it easier to navigate.

There are so many things to think about; where are you putting fruit and vegetables; which plants need the most room; do you want to invest in a shed or a poly-tunnel; if you want to grow things like beans are they going to need stakes? Despite all the questions, it can be quite fun drafting out your plan. Try different variations of how to use the space and see which works best for you.

Use Autumn and Winter Wisely

The ground is often frozen in the colder months and so it might not seem like the right time to start an allotment, especially when your favourite plants are out of season. However, this is a vital time for preparing. Your crops will be even better come spring and summer if proper prep is done in the winter. A good start is to lay fertiliser or green manure over your patch and allow it to rot down into the soil. This creates a nutrient rich base to plant into.

Green manure can be sowed in late Summer to Autumn and soaks up the nutrients that would otherwise be washed away by the rain. Some varieties also have pretty flowers mixed in that keep your garden looking attractive over the colder months. In spring simply dig it into the soil and you’re done! We understand you may be keen to get going and start planting, but if it’s not the right time then your results may end up lacklustre. Prep well to ensure a good yield.

Weed, Weed, Weed

This last tip is particularly important if you’re taking over a patch that hasn’t been used in a while. Weeds will be rampant! There will be weeds where you thought weeds couldn’t be. Even after a good session of weeding, they’re likely to keep popping up. Sometimes you may have to dig over the allotment at least twice to ensure you’ve dug up all the roots so that they don’t come back up again. It’s a mammoth task no doubt, but if you do it when starting your allotment, it will be much easier than once you have started to plant. You can dig them over instead of tediously picking them out from between your precious crops one by one.



These five tips will get your allotment on its way to becoming the best on the block. With a lot of hard work and a little bit of patience, you’ll thrive in the allotment community. Here at Grangewood we have lots of plants and tools in store and online to get your allotment up and running.



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