What’s the idea?
Get away from the digital world and regain your connection with nature by starting an allotment garden.
What’s the story?
I took over my allotment garden 9 years ago after moving into our new house and it’s brought me both pleasure and pain!
From clearing the ground to harvesting our first vegetables, there’s rarely a dull moment.
We all spend so much time rushing around that it’s nice to do something that slows us down.
People should do this because…?
Having an allotment is great for your mental well-being and should help keep you fit and healthy.
Perhaps you’re struggling for space to grow vegetables at home?
Just imagine sitting in your shed, chatting over a cup of tea with your fellow gardeners at the end of a warm summer day?
It’s also a great place to take the kids and get them into gardening.
They can be quite a commitment but with some preparation, you’ll soon be reaping your harvest.
So here are my tips to get your allotment started.
How do you do it?
Finding an allotment
Start by contacting your local council and find out how to get an allotment.
You usually rent your plot for a year and the allotment manager will advise you about the rules.
Remember that allotment plots are around 250 sq m so be realistic about what you can achieve.
Also, make sure it’s got a water supply nearby.
You may be lucky and take over an existing plot that been well-tended, or like me start with a lot of weeds and scrub!
Firstly you should check the site for wildlife such as hedgehogs, frogs and toads and make sure they’re safe.
Then you should buy or rent a petrol strimmer to cut down long grass and weeds and use loppers to clear any brambles or bushes.
You should also clear the site of any junk, bricks, and stones.
If your ground’s difficult to dig, use a rotovator, it’ll make the job much easier.
You’ll still need to dig the plot again to ensure that all the weeds are removed, and you should repeat this several times.
But don’t do this all at once, pace yourself.
If you find a large plot unmanageable, cover one half with black polythene to stop the weeds growing.
Ensure the soil is fertile by adding manure or compost.
Before planting you’ll want to decide how to use the plots space.
Do you want a shed for your tools and perhaps a greenhouse or polytunnel?
Where do you want to put the paths?
You may want to grow your vegetables in raised beds or plant them straight in the ground?
And don’t forget about rotating your crops, so divide up your plot accordingly.
Decide what you’ll grow such as potatoes or radishes?
Now you’re ready for planting!
Stuff you may need
Chat with your fellow gardeners about the tools that they use and some may even be kind and lend you some.
The following are the basic requirements to start your allotment garden:
- Garden fork
- Garden secateurs
- Watering can
- Petrol strimmer
- Gardening gloves