How to Grow Vegetables with Allotments

You do not even need a garden to grow vegetables   you can rent an allotment. If you are new to vegetable growing, you can rely on plenty of friendly advice and support too from a community of fellow gardeners.

Choosing an allotment

Find out about the allotment sites in your area. Some are run privately by a committee of allotment-holders, while others are run by the local council. Rent and the facilities provided can vary from area to area. A thriving site could have purpose-built sheds for each plot, a trading hut for cheap gardening sundries and even a clubhouse.

Talk to allotment-holders before you agree to rent a plot. Ask about the security of the site – vandalism and petty theft can be a problem on some allotments. Find out what the major pests are. Some sites have a problem with rabbits, which are hard to control.

A whole plot is normally about 250sq m – a large area to dig over in one go. Find out if you can rent a half- or quarter-plot to get started; you can always take on more later.

If you have a choice of plots, go for one that has been cultivated recently -breaking in an overgrown plot is a tough job. Check that there is a tap nearby and that access is easy for bulky deliveries such as compost. Established fruit bushes are a useful bonus.

Try to find out, from neighbouring plot-holders, about the recent history of your particular plot. For example, did the previous owner dig in lots of organic matter, use fertilisers and pesticides excessively, or practise crop rotation. Does the site have a history of problem diseases such as clubroot on brassicas or white rot on onions?

Getting started

Getting off to a good start with an allotment can make all the difference. The best time to start is in the autumn or winter, as this will give you plenty of time to plan and get the soil right.

Next steps

Start a compost bin immediately and recycle as much organic matter as you can, but do not include diseased plants or perennial weeds, or any weeds in flower.  Find out about the soil. It is worth following a crop-rotation system on an allotment.

Your fellow plot-holders will be only too pleased that you are tackling an overgrown plot, so most will be more than happy to pass on their expertise and opinions. But do not be afraid to break with the traditional approach, for example, by building a couple of raised beds, and remember to grow what you and your family want to eat, not simply what everyone else is growing.

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About the Author: Greenery always attracts Arthur Kunkle. He has a big garden where he plants many fruits and vegetables. His passion for gardening motivates him to write and share different tips on gardening.

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