So, you’ve decided you quite like the idea of an allotment, you’ve found the plot and want to get cracking with your plans.
Whilst nurturing an allotment will take a lot or hard work and dedication, it will also be extremely rewarding and give you a great opportunity to try creative ways to grow your own food.
Assuming you have cleared your plot of any unwanted shrubs, weeds, debris etc you will be looking at a nice clear patch of land ready to map out. Three of the most important elements to consider with an allotment are soil type, sunlight and water supply.
Depending on your soil quality you may have to work a little harder to ensure it is rich enough to give your crops all the nutrients they need, check out this little tip to identify your soil type.
You will also need to look in to crop rotation, a method designed to minimise pest or disease build up – you can find more information at www.rhs.org.uk
It’s important to consider how much sunlight your allotment gets as this will determine what will best thrive there. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, corn and squash prefer full sun, whereas peas, broccoli, cabbage, onions and leeks are happy in partial shade and lettuce, spinach, kale and brussels sprouts are content growing in the shade.
In regard to a water supply, this doesn’t mean you need an outside tap and hosepipe, it can be a simple rainwater collection system running off a shed, greenhouse or outdoor building. If you’re lucky enough to gain a large plot you will need to consider how you get water to all of your crops. If you have the chance to place your shed in a central position this would be wise, you can then collect water from the roof and take shorter trips to water by hand if needed.
Pathways should always be planned to ensure you have access to all of your crops. Marking your beds out with enough room all around them to weed, water, and of course, harvest is important.
Don’t forget to factor in some form of fencing to protect your crops and all that hard work from any rabbits looking for a free dinner!