The quiet dormancy of winter is a good time to plan for the year ahead at the allotment.
If you’re a novice allotmenteer, or new to growing vegetables, you may be filled with a mixture of excitement that’s tinged with a mild sense of dread at where to start. The only way to over-come this is to make a plan, buy some seeds and get started.
Planning is always a good thing, it gives you a sense of direction, you’re more likely to be prepared for what lies ahead and there’ll be more success to spur you on.
Firstly, good, rich soil is the key to growing plenty of vegetables, and most other plants too. Pull up any weeds, and add at least 4in/100cm of muck over the soil, well-rotted farm manure or green waste from your local council is ideal.
How to choose what to grow:
- What do you love to eat? Don’t bother growing runner beans if your family don’t really like them.
- Start with easy vegetables, if you’re new to vegetable growing, carrots and radishes are generally trouble-free and quick to grow.
- Choose vegetables that aren’t usually sold in your local shops, like winter squash or swiss chard.
- It’s always worth growing vegetables that taste their best when freshly picked, like runner beans and tomatoes.
- Grow some herbs, fresh herbs really are a delight.
- Finally choose vegetables that that you can harvest at different times of the year so you always have something to pick.
Sketch a simple plan of the plot and pencil in where vegetables will be planted. Check what other plot-holders are growing and planting, have a chat about what they grow and what does well, gardeners are generous people.
Above all don’t be put off when things don’t go exactly according to plan, learn as you go and keep going.