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Viewing an Allotment? The Questions You Need to Ask!

So, you have had the call from the Site Secretary and you are off to view your first allotment. I remember it like it was yesterday when we viewed ours on a cold early spring morning, right at the beginning of the season. Our allotment shop had just opened and the promise of the bountiful harvests ahead had brought all the plot owners out to make a start, there was a real buzz in the air and the community alone completely sold it to me! Although, i do wish i had known then what i know now...


Here are some of the important things to go armed with to help you when taking on your first plot!


  1. Soil Type

What type of soil are you working with? Its a good idea to have a little read into different soil types and what grows best in them. This will hopefully give you a good start as you may be able to plant things straight away depending on the time of year. Regardless of your soil type, this can always be improved so its definitely not a deal breaker for your plot if it doesn't come with a perfect loam!


2. Water Supply


Do you have access to a water supply? Water is a precious resource on your plot especially during those summer dry spells! Lots of water to carry is also heavy, back breaking work which can be make or break for your crops. Plan in advance how you will water if you don't have access to a supply and how you can save as much water as possible!


3. Perennial Weeds


Do you have any perennial weeds on the plot? Any of these nightmare weeds including couch grass, bindweed or marestail to name but a few! Again, I would never see this as a deal breaker but this information will enable you to come up with an action plan of how to tackle them. It will also give you an idea of how big a job you have ahead of you so you can plan accordingly - unless you are lucky enough to walk onto a perfectly previously maintained plot!


4. Grow What You Like to Eat


In my first year i grew around 20 turnips just because we could. I then realised no one in our house actually likes turnips and they all went to waste. Never mind the time and effort into growing the seedlings, planting out and watering. Your time is valuable - don't be a busy fool and make sure your harvests are worth the effort!


5. Don't Try To Do Everything At Once


Split your allotment plan into manageable chunks! Its easy to become overwhelmed, especially when that first blast of warm spring air hits and the weeds start to grow before your very eyes! If you don't get to everything in your first year, that's OK! This is a marathon not a sprint! Cover it up and plan it in for next year. Document your journey and keep looking back at how far you have come.


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