Planning an Allotment
When you first take on an allotment the most important thing first is making a plan for the allotment. You need to decide all the things you would like to grow on your allotment, the things, and tools you need to maintain and look after the plot, and also some of the essentials you need down at your allotments like a shed and a greenhouse. In this article we will explain and guide you to being an allotment planner and making the most out of your allotment, giving you all our allotment expertise and helping you create that list of the things you require for starting your plot and getting it looking beautiful.
Allotment and Kitchen Garden Book
Are you starting an allotment or planning on growing your own fruit, vegetables, herbs, and flowers in a kitchen garden? If so we highly recommend the book Allotment Month By Month. This does exactly what it does on the cover to help you with what you should be doing in the allotment and kitchen garden each month. Below you can see the link for Amazon where you can purchase the book directly. This book is extremely popular with all allotment holders as you will read in the reviews:-
You can check out all the allotment and kitchen garden books we recommend here.
How to Design Your Allotment
There are a few options you can use when it comes to planning your allotment. Here are some of the ideas you can use, all of these ideas are best used for great results:-
- Pencil and Paper: – Measure the size of your plot and draw a plan to scale
- Make a list:- Write down everything you would like on your plot and the things you would like to grow.
- Allotment Program:- Use a specific computer program to plan your allotment.
- Allotment Journal and Allotment Diary:- Purchase an allotment diary online and make notes of when you plant things and what you do, this way you can check it the next year and see how it performed. You can find allotment diaries here
You can check out our review of an allotment diary that we use for our allotment and garden below
The Size of your Allotment
The size of your allotment is very important because if you decide to go for a large allotment you can have a few fruit trees, a polytunnel, a shed, and a seating area. If you decide to go for a smaller plot you will have to make a decision on what things are the most important to your plot and how much of each item you can actually grow on your plot.
Which Planting Style Suits You
When it comes to choosing the layout of the allotment you need to think about what will benefit you. A lot of gardeners plant in rows in the allotment. Then again more and more people are building beds on their plots, this is so that it marks out the area where you are growing, you can fasten netting over easily and you have paths leading all around it so it’s easy to weed and hoe.
Another method is building raised beds, this can be an expensive option as you need to buy all the materials and then you need to fill the raised bed with soil. Obviously, this works better if you struggle bending over to the garden as they will be at your hip level.
When it comes to choosing the method to grow it all goes down to your needs and what suits you best so that it is comfortable when gardening.
My personal opinion is to build beds so that the areas are marked out, you know specifically where you are growing and you can draw them on your plan. You can also lay paths round all the beds using paving, wood chip or black porous matting which you can walk up and down and hoe the beds.
What to plant?
A key point to the allotment and one of the most critical ones is to decide what you are going to grow on your allotment. Do you grow everything you like or do you grow things that friends and family also like? There are also plenty of things you can grow which are not available in the supermarkets. Here are some ideas of the items you could grow:-
You need to think about what fruit you would like to grow on your plot, especially trees. Remember that where you plant them that will be where they will live and you won’t be able to move them. Fruit trees need to be planted in Winter so that they can take well with the rain. Don’t plant them in summer. You need to check the rules around fruit trees as some councils don’t let you have fruit trees or they will specify the height they can be grown to.
Next, you need to think about what fruit plants and bushes you will grow. One of the best investments on a plot is strawberry plants. You can purchase around 20 online then every year they will send out babies (runners) and you will end up with loads of plants. Rhubarb is also a great item to have. If you have a few rhubarb plants you could be eating crumble every week. Other great fruit items to plant are blackberries, Loganberries, and raspberries. The blackberries and Logan berries you can train to grow down the sides of your plot as they will fruit every year. Raspberries will also fruit every year – they also spread so you will end up with lots of plants.
There are hundreds of varieties of vegetables you can try growing. The best advice is to go to your local garden center with a pen and paper and make a list of all the vegetables you want to try. Then go home and research if you are able to grow them. Why not also have a look at what strange and funky vegetables you can grow. Vegetables come in all different shapes and colours these days.
Do you use herbs in dishes for food, well why not try growing them they are very simple and they grow back year after year? They will also add a nice scent to your plot.
These are a vital part of your allotment, everyone should be encouraged to grow some flowers on their plot as this will attract the bees which will help pollinate your fruit and vegetables. With out the bees, you will not get produce. You could plant some flowers which can be cut and taken home for the wife or to put in a vase. Why not plant some spring bulbs these will grow every year and they are the first bit of color on the plot and the bees will love you as they are the only flowers available for when they wake up from hibernation.
Other Items To Consider
There are many other things to consider for your allotment when starting up. Here we will guide you through the items which are classed as luxury and have items on the allotment.
This is something that you will defiantly want on your allotment. When you have been working hard on the allotment you will want to sit back, have a brew and look at the great work you have done. Why not put your seating in a shaded part of the plot where vegetables are less likely to grow well?
I certainly would not class this as an essential item to have on your allotment but if you can pick one up free from Facebook or an online site why turn it down? All I would use this for is to sit in if it is raining. I would not store tools on my allotment site, even if they are old you do not want them pinching. If you do get a hut leave it unlocked as someone will only think you have something worth stealing.
This is one of the most essential things you can have on your plot. With the weather in the UK it is cold at the beginning of the year so you can not sow seeds outdoors. The best way to grow them is in a greenhouse – the best type to go for is a polycarbonate one as often on allotments it can get windy. You do not want to come after a storm and half the panes have blown out and smashed. You will be picking glass out for years.
Paths are vital on your plot to get around and be able to weed around your fruit and vegetables. The question is how posh do you want your paths to look? In my plot, I use the black membrane to stop the weeds from coming through. If you can get hold of paving slabs that would make it look posher – plus a lot of the time you can find free paving slabs online. Make sure you make your paths wide enough to take a wheelbarrow down
This is a great asset for any allotment when you are planning where to have your compost bin. Ideally have it at the end of your plot away from your shed as compost heaps like to attract mice and rats because of the warmth from them. You really need to have a compost heap so that you you chuck all your old vegetable plants and weeds in, they will take a while to rot down but if you have a few you can fill one this year then next move onto the next one. Making your own compost will save you lots as you will need to buy compost for sowing your seeds and potting your plants up.
If you are lucky on your site you will have water taps but most councils say you can only use a hose pipe to fill water butts up then use a watering can to water your plants so you are not wasting water. We are lucky on our allotment site as the council drops off old wheelie bins that you can use as water butts.
When choosing your allotment tools you obviously need to think of the basic tools you require but as you get into your hobby you will start to treat yourself to new tools and ask for them for birthdays and Christmas.
These are the essential tools you require for your allotment:-
- Hand fork
- Shears if you have a hedge
- Pruners – Ideal for fruit bushes
The brand which I recommend is the Wolf Garten range as you only need to purchase a handle then you can buy the attachments separate. Below you can find a review of my favorite Wolf Garten tool the soil miller.
We hope you have found these Allotment Planner tips helpful. Now you can get started on that new allotment and growing your own organic produce. Check out the rest of our website for more tips and advice. Go to our home page here
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