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First time allotmenter

ondiondi Posts: 7

So I’ve just taken the plunge… I contacted the council expecting the waiting list to be years long, but I managed to get a plot straight away! Viewed it yesterday and should be getting the keys by the end of the week.

It’s pretty overgrown (see photo), but there’s a shed at the back, and a few raised beds already in place which I’m hoping to salvage.

I know next to nothing about gardening, so the whole thing’s going to be one huge learning curve, but I’m really looking forward to it.

I’d love to hear any tips people have for first-timers like me. At the moment, my plan of action is:

• Assess the shed, and clear out anything worthless left by the previous owner

• Clear a path to the shed

• De-weed one of the raised beds so I can get something growing

• Get a compost heap going I’m planning on fashioning one out of old bits of wood/pallets

• De-weed the rest of the site

• Get the rest of the beds going

• Put some fences up

• Sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labour (hopefully)

I realize this is probably going to take well over a year, but I’m up for the fight!



Last edited: 05 June 2017 13:58:29



  • Hello Ondi

    Best advice I can give is to enjoy the outside life, dont rush what you are doing as it will then be a chore and not a enjoyable time. I would do what you have set out to do and start with getting to the shed so you have a place to store your tools.when you clear the weeds you can then see what the soil is like  and what can be good for helping the ground recover from not being used is planting potatoes as they can help break down soil like clay. I recommend listening to Radio 2 Jeremy Vine on a friday as he has a guy that calls from his allotment in wales with great gardening tips, Really good listening.



    Jolly Gary

  • ondiondi Posts: 7

    Sorry, just realised that photo is minuscule! Here's a better one. 


  • NewBoy2NewBoy2 Posts: 1,813

    To be kind to yourself perhaps you could ask yourself the following questions that we all thought about eventually

    Why do you want a plot

           To relax

           To feed your family

           To save money on vegs

           To get back to nature and de stress

    What is the size in feet

    What are the plots next to you like

    Are they all as "challenging " as yours

    How many hours per day / week / month can you do

    Is there vandalism on the site

    Everyone is just trying to be Happy.....So lets help Them.
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  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003

    Congratulations on getting your first allotment, it looks like it's a decent size, your excitement is almost palpable.  Your plan sounds great, and will give you enormous pleasure, but........... Gardening, whether it be fruit, veg or flowers requires patience, sometimes a lot of it.  Don't rush the process, think of what you want to grow, take it at a nice steady pace, or it will become a chore and you will loose interest, quickly.    

    Personally I would concentrate on clearing the whole site before planting anything........those season appropiate seeds and plug plants will all still be there, waiting to be bought in the autumn, winter next spring and summer.

    Also, for your own satisfaction and realisations of all the hard work that is ahead of you, you should keep a photograph diary, it's amazing how each season, each year can differ. There will be unbelievable changes, especially as your site is so overgrown.  Enjoy the process and wonderment of nature.  

  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 7,079
    Mary370 says:

    Personally I would concentrate on clearing the whole site before planting anything........those season appropiate seeds and plug plants will all still be there, waiting to be bought in the autumn, winter next spring and summer.

    See original post

    I mostly agree with Mary but - and it's just my opinion - I would stick with your plan of getting a few things in to one area as soon as practicable. There is nothing as encouraging as eating something you've grown yourself, even if it's one wonky carrot or a rather thin salad.

    Good luck - have fun. As Jolly said - remember to enjoy it, don't turn it into a chore for yourself by setting impossible targets or worrying what the neighbouring allotmenters think. image

    PS Some weeds are edible 

    Last edited: 06 June 2017 09:16:55

    Gardening on the edge of Exmoor, in Devon

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • rosemummyrosemummy Posts: 2,010

    congratulations ondi, we had a full size plot last year but it's size, rubbish left and long long walk through very overgrown paths with 2 small kids made us give it up and go on waiting list for half plot, like you we expected to wait years, in 2 months we have a half plot right up near top along wide mown path so much better for kids, it also has (I think) 10 fruit trees and lots of raspberries, the last one had no structure and we just couldn't manage it, we didn't know where to start, I feel so much more confident with this one. I think your plan sounds great, just don't expect too much too soon, and if you clear a patch and go away and it's full of weeds when when you come back don't get disheartened, we expected too much too quickly, we'll just concentrate on clearing weeds this year, have you seen the other thread 'new allotment' always worth a read

  • FireFire Posts: 18,951

    Good Luck Ondi!

  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy Posts: 6,736

    Good luck. I agree clear one or 2 areas & get something in! Nothing wrong with buying a few veg & Tom plants at this stage of year to give you a jump start.  You fellow plot holders may have spare plants. Still time to sow french bean seed The National Allotment Association produces advice leaflets on various aspects of starting a new plot.  

    AB Still learning

  • hoegloryhoeglory Posts: 69

    I would clear one of the raised bed first and plant my most favourite veg.   Sweet corn, cucumbers, tomatoes plants are still available from garden centre,  they will grow on and provide some harvest at the end of season while you tackle the weeds and other jobs. Good luck.

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