I love having home-grown vegetables, but with a garden that’s mostly surrounded by trees and not much spare space, my options were limited, an allotment was the perfect solution. Fancy a little tour?
The front of the plot has a hawthorn hedge screening the busy road,
a small stream marks the boundary at the other end. A tranquil little spot over-looking a field and convenient for watering the plot.
It was all quite neglected when I took it over three years ago, but with my husbands help, the broken greenhouse has gone, things have been re-arranged, raised beds installed and filled with lovely, rich compost.
The raised beds give a nice, ordered lay-out and with a plan of crop rotation, it’s going to be easy to manage.
The end of the plot near the river has two old apple trees and a Victoria plum tree,
they take up quite a bit of space, but I’m delighted to have them. They have an abundance of blossom this year, despite this section of the allotment being flooded during the winter.
I planted goosberries, and blackcurrant bushes, raspberries and two rhubarb plants in the first year, so we have plenty of fruit.
So far this year I’ve planted potatoes, broad-beans, brussell sprouts and sown carrot, radish and beetroot seeds.
What would I pass on to help other new allotmenteers?
My top tips for an allotment are:
- plan the lay-out so you use the space efficiently,
- make a plan of what you’re going to grow, mark your calender with reminders about when to plant everything,
- have some permanant planting, like fruit bushes, so you don’t have to re-plant the whole plot each year,
- sow small amounts of seed every 10-14 days during the summer so you have a succession of vegetables, rather than a huge glut all at once,
- keep the soil in good condition by topping up with good compost every year.
An allotment is a nice place to meet like-minded people, there’s a wealth of knowledge from other alotmenteers and quite a bit of recycling between us. My old greenhouse was taken on by another plot-holder who lovingly restored it, and I’ve got a little strawberry patch with plants redistributed from an abandoned plot.
Home grown vegetables are about having great food to eat, that’s super fresh and free from pesticides.
My other aim is to store stuff away for later in the year in the form of chutney, fruit compote, jam and freezing pasta sauce etc.
There’s an earlier post here about crop rotation, i.e. what to plant where, and how this helps to have healthy plants.
all images: Jill Anderson