First time allotment owner and grower!
ThunderBaird Posts: 2
yesterday i took the plunge and signed up to get my first allotment, as my garden is pretty small and doesn't get much sun.
the land i have inherited is overgrown to say the least, with the top part quite flat but then sloping down at the bottom. The soil seems decent as the plots adjacent seem to have been well looked after over the winter and veg growing already.
Just asking for advice on best ways of clearing the allotment of weeds/grass and then good things to plant for the first year?
there is a shed already on the plot (seems in a decent state and towards the rear corner) and i have some pallets ready to make a compost bin for the grass/weeds (where would be best to build it?)
any advise would be welcome
What is the going rate a week to rent a allotment .
Hi Thunder We have a great thread running from people with allotments, I will post the link and if you post on there I'm sure you will get advice.
Congratulations. You should have a lot of fun and a lot of lovely things to eat. I have had an allotment for a couple of years and have never yet managed to clear it of weeds because it is infested with horsetails, so all I seem to do is attack those instead of getting on with the business of growing crops. In spite of this I have managed to grow strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, flowers for drying, and a spot of rhubarb. As you can gather, I am not a fan of squirting weeds with chemicals but you may wish to go over to the dark side and spray with every chemical known to man. That is your choice.
First things first though. Decide on a ground plan.....paths or no paths.....raised beds or old fashioned flat earth.....that sort of thing. The compost bin can go where you fancy but you may want to plan for two bins as that gives one a chance to rot down while the other is being filled up. Three bins is best but it depends on space and how much garden rubbish you have.
Clearing the ground can be done in one go with the help of weedkillers and heavy machinery (strimmer and cultivator), or you can go for the slow option of clearing an area as you wish to plant. Beware of really bad weeds like ground elder and horsetails. You want to avoid chopping up the roots of things like that as you dig because they will grow back a thousandfold and make your life hell. Many people recommend Roundup for ground elder and even for horsetails though I doubt the latter can be killed by anything short of a nuclear explosion. Weeds like bindweed can also recur quickly if not eradicated totally. If you only have grass and the weaker type of weed, if there is such a thing, then your life will be a lot easier.
First crops. People say that potatoes are a good crop for breaking up the soil but that is probably becasue you will be doing a lot of digging and earthing up on behalf of the crop. Soft fruit is great because it always tastes a hundred times better than the stuff in the supermarket and it hasn't travelled hundreds of miles to get to your dining table. Beans of course....runners or climbing french beans always look good on an allotment and they taste lovely too. Cut flowers. Brassicas and beetroot. Leeks. Tomatoes are best avoided unless you plan on getting to the plot everyday to water them in high summer. Asparagus looks impressive even if you never intend to eat the stuff. Rhubarb can be left to get on with the business of growing huge without much interference from you and it does look beautiful.
Plant something for the bees, sage or nepeta (though you may with to avoid the latter if there are cats about) and thyme.
i have had an allotment for 20 years now. My only piece of advice is, take your time, don't do too much at one go and enjoy it, don't make it a chore. If you have a few weeds it doesn't matter. If your plot is really weedy cover in black polythene, the bit you've not got round to sorting and just sort an area you can manage at the moment. Hope you throughly enjoy it as much as i do.
Hi Jason milly. You rent an allotment by the year. The rates vary according to which part of the country you live in, some being more expensive than others. Here in Cornwall I pay £40 per year for a tripple plot with two sheds and a polytunnel, hose and water included. A single plot without polytunnel (sheds are free) is £9 per year, water an extra £9 per year. We have community plots, which are half size, for those who do not require a full size plot. These are cheaper and included is a shed containing all tools needed, which are shared. The allotment is run by a committee which ensures smooth running and upkeep of each plot. If plot holders do not look after their plots they are asked to rectify the situation - or leave.
Thanks for information mel m .