Finally......an Allotment!!!

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
15 replies 3.3K views
orchidpepperorchidpepper Forumite
96 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
It finally happened! After 5 years on the waiting list I was offered a neglected lottie :-)

seriously overgrown but I have dug one tiny plot so far and transferred the strawberries I found hidden by weeds into it.

As soon as it's strimmed I'm going to go into a digging frenzy to get everything in.

So confused as to design though, it's basically a blank weedy canvas so was thinking maybe section off manageable sized beds?

Any advise welcome

Gx
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Replies

  • savemoneysavemoney Forumite
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    Congratulations on getting one after 5 years. I too been waiting for a while two years in all. I dont think its too late to grow things, probably next year will be better once you get established.
  • alleycat`alleycat` Forumite
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    Firstly congrats on the lottie!

    I too got my lottie after about 5 or 6 years of waiting and it sounds pretty much like yours does right now.
    Sadly the gentleman that had it died (but had paid up for the year) so the council just let it go to ruin for the best part of a year.

    I was also about 8th down the list and was the first to actually accept it (they have to give several days per person to respond).

    So in the end I didn't get mine until End of June.
    As it was later on in terms of getting anything to do with it on the first year i decided to work out what i wanted it to look like before doing anything.

    First of all take a photo of where you started from (it makes me feel better mine still isn't anywhere near perfect!).

    I got a pad of paper out and pretty much chopped the allotment up into several sections.

    This is roughly how it now looks:-

    Section 1 is where the shed was (to which i've now added a greenhouse off the back of).

    Section 2 is next to the shed and greenhouse (now growing courgs, squash, pumps).

    (basically section 1 and 2 comprise the top 1/3 of the allotment).

    Section 3 is split into a mix of 4 raised beds (4ft x 8ft) and several areas to grow directly into the ground (split by walkways).

    (this makes up the middle 1/3 of the lottie).

    Section 4 is the bottom 1/3 of the lottie and i'm still working on this as a i go (chucked a tarp over it all to start with).


    How i physically went about it was:-

    (July)

    * Sort out the shed and greenhouse.
    * chop down the weeds in section 3.
    * Dig over and weed section 3 some more.
    * install the 4 raised beds and get the ground ready in (part of) section 3 for winter onions.
    * chop down the weeds in section 2.
    * Dig over section 2 and weed some more.
    * Plant green manure into the rest of section 3 to help keep the weeds down
    * work out rotation system for year 1 and onwards to year 3 for beds and ground.

    (now i'm at about september).

    * Chop down section 4 weeds to ground level.
    * Tarp over as much of this section as possible (to allow the rest to die off).
    * Had a break (October time).
    * chop down green manure and leave it as a top dressing.
    * plant winter onions.
    * Manure delivery
    * Dig manure into rest of section 3 (for next years Potatoes).
    * Dig some manure into section 2 for the courgs, pumps, squash.
    * Rough dug over section 4 to let frost at it over winter (tarp is now off)

    (December time).

    * built up a compost area (for next year).
    * Stacked rest of manure.

    * work out your rotation system for everything and when seeds need to go in etc.
    * Steal as many tips from other lottie holders as possible.

    * dig it all over again (as soon as it is workable and you don't get 8 feet tall walking on it).

    * lime where you've decided the brassicas are going (soil type dependent).

    I'm sure there are better / easier ways to go about it but that is my story (well a chopped down version).

    Enjoy :)
  • edited 31 May 2011 at 2:13PM
    stilerninstilernin Forumite
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    edited 31 May 2011 at 2:13PM
    Gayle, congratulations.

    Advice?
    • Take it slowly.
    • Cover unworked areas; exposing it as you dig. It keeps the weeds down and the soil damp ready for digging.
    • Keep what you have cleared and planted in good order as well as working on new areas. It is easier than having to tackle it if neglected and just makes you feel good.
    • Keep it simple this year, there is always next year.
    • Listen to all advice, then do what you think is best for you.
    • Enjoy it!
  • gillian62gillian62 Forumite
    372 Posts
    I got an allotment last year, part through the year, and it is really coming into it's own this year.

    I used about 1/2 of it last year, and my advice is rather than do too many things, concentrate on doing a few things well. That will encourage you for next year.

    I split my allotment into manageable beds and worked on sections of that at a time. You can then have something growing while you work on the next bit.

    And then during the winter you can spend time using what you have learnt this year to continue with your ideas or change some. Enjoy!!
  • avantraavantra Forumite
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    Ye, I second this look for next year if you want this done properly.

    Many councils allocate the yearly available plots from April to April (budget year I suppose) which is usually late for anything other than fast crops like salads, radishes etc'

    We were in the same situ couple years ago. So what did we do?

    Well, we took a long view and decided to get crops properly next year.

    First clear out all the weeds and rubbish, dig in as much manure/compost as you can.

    Now let it rest for a month or two.

    Do some more weeding.


    Sow green manure all over the plot and leave it overwinter (look for green manure that can last the winter like fodder radish etc').

    In March run a cultivator and dig in all this green manure.

    Cover in mulch of your choice.

    At home/ in the greenhouse grow everything you need in modules so you have it ready to plant out in Spring 2012.

    :T


    It is April 1 and you are ready to put everything in the ground.
    Five exclamation marks the sure sign of an insane mind!!!!!

    Terry Pratchett.
  • edited 31 May 2011 at 4:29PM
    diddly74diddly74 Forumite
    804 Posts
    edited 31 May 2011 at 4:29PM
    Hi

    Didn't want to read a run. I too have only had my allotment a few weeks, and although I know I want to utilise raised beds (partly because I know I can be more organised and I know I feel more secure that way) I have altered the layout twice now. I realised the first time that I had wasted a lot of space. There is still a lot of time for growing things, but there is no rush. I have borrowed 6 books from my library, my 2 faves are Allotment Month by Month by Alan Buckingham, and Grow something to eat every day by Jo Whittingham. And both show you what you can be planting and harvesting every month from the allotment. So what you haven't got this years onions or potatoes in - you could still be planting Fennel as it doesn't need to go in till June. Or how about autumn/winter/spring cabbages??? There is a big long list of 25 things you can SOW in June!!!

    I am an almost complete novice, and strapped for cash as I am a Student as well as a Mom, and as the plot was a grazing field till a few months ago there are no amenities on site apart from a horse trough for water, we are busy putting fences up at the moment to protect the plot from Roger and Rita Rabbit (Who we have seen brazenly spying on us!)

    So over the rest of the year I want to get some seeds/plants into the ground a produce something to keep my interest up, but also procure a shed (ebay has a few good ones but I have no transport to get them :( ) and get the rest of the backbone of the plot up and running i.e. the compost heap and a Plan, then I will be happy.

    On the plus side of all this I have lost 5lbs in weight since I started diggin!!!!!

    Have fun and enjoy your "Land" xxxx

    Oh yes and I plan to find a supplier of horse manure!!!
    Donna
    Economy; careful management; providence. Whether you call it thrifty or frugality it all comes down to getting more for your money.
  • gillian62gillian62 Forumite
    372 Posts
    Libraries are brilliant places to borrow gardening books from and then if you find one that is really useful you can buy it. I have found a couple that way.

    I have had most success looking for books that just deal with veg gardening or allotment, rather than wasting time trawling through how to plant up flowers.

    Charity shops or car boot sales are other good places to pick up gardening books a lot cheaper. I have about 8 now that are really useful.
  • oldtractoroldtractor Forumite
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    Hurray Dig for Victory.
  • matt987106matt987106 Forumite
    390 Posts
    work out a size of area you can dig over in under 30 mins, this is a ideal size for a bed, mine are 1.2 M X 2.6 M
  • angelavdavisangelavdavis Forumite
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    Mortgage-free Glee!
    Hi,

    Congratulations! I got my allotment in mid-June last year - so you have two weeks over me in the growing season! The soil was rock hard, so we set up two beds using the lasagne bed method as it was impossible to dig. We grew squashes, pumpkins, courgettes, strawberries, cabbages, chard, beetroot and spinach from the two beds we set up. Other plot holders were amazed what we were harvesting so quickly. We were then able to prepare the other beds when the soil was workable come autumn time when we planted our overwintered crops. My tips would be:
    1. Decide what you want to grow. We now have soft fruit beds, fruit trees espaliered around the edge of the plot, garlic almost ready for harvest, potatoes, runner beans, mange tout, cabbages, broccoli, french beans, peas, broad beans, herbs, rhubarb, courgettes, summer and winter squash, beetroot, turnips, spinach, chard, pak choi, salads, onions, shallots, a greenhouse filled with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, chilis and aubergines and a cut flower bed.
    2. Find out whether your plot floods during winter - a common problem on our plot hence our moving toward raised beds. I was amazed our garlic didn't rot off over winter as it was so wet.
    3. Don't be afraid to experiment. We are using this year to test what works best on the plot and what we like taste-wise.
    4. Don't be afraid of changing your plans. We are gradually putting wooden edging on our beds and turning them into raised beds but this takes time.
    5. Keep your eyes open for cheap deals and freebies. I have managed to get a greenhouse and guttering from freecycle.
    6. Don't worry about getting it all done immediately - you can knock yourself out and get disillusioned quickly, plant easy croppers like courgettes and relish in enjoying these until you can prepare the beds properly for other crops later.
    7. Start plants off - initially, you may find that you have problems with slugs due to the fact that your plot has been overgrown. By starting plants off before planting them in the beds, it gives them a chance to fight off slug attacks.
    Above all, have fun!!!
    :D Thanks to MSE, I am mortgage free!:D
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