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How much space for fruit & veg

New to gardening! Hopefully getting an allotment and wondering about planning the layout. How much space would I need for plants like raspberries/strawberries etc? And raised beds, I understand typical size is about 1.2m X 3m how many do most people have on a full size allotment? And how do gauge how much of each vegetable to plant? I want to feed my family of four as much as possible from it but also don’t want to be overrun with something especially if I can’t store/ preserve it. A lot of questions I know! Any advice welcome as well as book recommendations please! Thank you 


  • Thanks! I’m in Cornwall so fairly mild climate. I’ve definitely got a list of things we like to eat, I’m mostly wondering about how much of each to plant? Is there a rough rule of thumb if does it vary a lot depending on the veg? 
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,481
    Many questions, bethandain, but welcome.  You seem fixated on a need for Raised Beds but I, for one, don't have them so you may prefer not to follow that trend.  Other things like Rasberries stay in the same space each year, so I've opted to have them to one side of my plot for easier cropping visits.  Runner beans can occupy less space if based on a 'pit', rather than a 'row', but you must follow your dreams and sift through the advice you get.  Each piece you receive will be someone else's No-No!  Good luck.
  • Thanks Nick! Yes I know raised beds aren’t for everyone but I’ve done a bit of reading and chatting to people and it think it’s the best option for us. Very true I suppose it’s a matter of opinion for most things 
  • if you are planning on raised beds you 
    should get one of versions of the book
    "square foot gardening"

  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,723
    Pft, it's a kind of an impossible question. But you can start with some guestimates (if you like making spreadsheets it will help)
    Take something like onions, how many do you use in a week? I use 2-3 per week so I would need somewhere between 100 and 200 per year if they were all used at full size and if I could keep the previous years crop until the next were ready. Since neither of those assumptions are true I find I need 400 onions per year as during the summer we eat fresh onions which are not fully grown, of course not every onion plant will make a decent bulb so I scale up to 500 per year, for our household use. This keeps the two of us in onions all year round.
    Lettuces are also nice and easy to calculate, if you want 2 a week for 6 months, you just have to multiply through and then allow some extra (around 20%) so you have spares when the slugs/rabbits/weather take some out.
    Spacing can be found with a look online.

    Another issue is how much space and time you have. onions are a low value crop,that occupy your land for a long time. but they take very little work, a few weedings early in the year and they look after themselves
    Climbing beans on the other hand, are both valuable and take very little space but require a lot of time, they have to be picked at least every other day and normally require some help to begin to climb.

    Adding raised beds will drastically reduce the space you have available to grow in, and are really not suitable for raspberries or climbing beans unless you're 8ft tall.

    I have about 15m of summer fruiting raspberries that are 2 years old, and last year I picked about 5kg of perfect raspberries and 1kg of jam berries from those plants. I expect a better yield this year as there are a lot more canes (that reminds me I need to go and thin them a bit)
    Soft fruit like raspberries and strawberries need daily picking in season but are practically work free the rest of the year.
  • Thanks Skandi! Yes I realise it’s a difficult question so just had no idea where to start. This is all really helpful thank you. 
  • Ooh thank you war garden I’ll check out that book 
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,481
    Final offer.  Example of runner beans a la pit.  Area = 4ft x 4ft.  12 of my 'STYX' @ 2 plants each = 24 healthy vines per year and loads of beans.
  • That looks great, well done. If I decide to grow runner beans I’ll definitely look into this “pit” system thanks. 
     I’m curious why is it so important to you that I don’t use raised beds though? 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,944
    edited February 2023
    I would add to @pansyface 's points above by pointing out the considerable added expense of constructing raised beds ... so unless there is a reason why raised beds are needed (a badly drained plot for example), or unless you are willing to forgo the loss of growing space and are happy with the added expense for aesthetic reasons, you may like to reconsider.

    Allotmenteers have grown their veg successfully in traditional rows for many years now. 
    I did have some raised beds in this garden as well as a traditional veg patch with my crops in rows ... I gave up on the raised beds as they were far too thirsty, and despite being properly constructed I had a lot of trouble with tree and hedge roots coming up from underneath and taking all the moisture from the beds.  

    That was £100 I could've spent elsewhere in the garden  :'(

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

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