The five Ps of starting an allotment

Allotments

Wed 28 Feb 2018

It's a great time of year to start an allotment, so here are the five top Ps to starting your allotment!

Plan

Once you’ve found your allotment your first step is to plan out your space. Do your research and figure out what you want to plant throughout the year, then grab your pencil and paper and make a sketch of your allotment. It’s easy to get over excited about planting in your new plot, but don’t miss out this key step!

Top tip: Talk to others! Spark up a conversation with others in the allotment, or talk to your site secretary, and get some expert advice on planning your plot.

Prepare

Now you’ve got your plot planned out, prepare yourself for your planting. Now, during the winter months, is the perfect time to clear your allotment of any unwanted matter (trees, overgrowth etc.) ready for planting and sowing in the spring. Before you get planting make sure your allotment is fitted with all the essentials you require. Ask your site secretary what facilities are available for you before you bring anything unnecessary with you!

Top tip: Get some friends involved. It can be quite a labour intensive job clearing your allotment, so make it a social activity, and a good bit of group exercise – it’ll be more fun than the gym!

Perennial

Perennials are the perfect plants for any allotment newbies. Perennial fruits and herbs will live more than two years, and they don’t need to be grown from seed every year. If you’re looking for ways to minimise workload and maximise food output then these are the plants for you! Typical perennials include tomatoes, asparagus, garlic, basil, strawberries and blueberries. That’s one tasty dinner!

Top tip: Give the plants a good start and you’ll see the benefit. Dig compost and any other necessary amendments deeply into the soil before you plant and mulch the beds with a generous layer compost, wood chips, or shredded leaves early on.

Precepitation

Rain, snow, sleet, hail, drizzle, we get it all in this country, and it all affects how our plants grow. Do some research in the best way to protect your crops from the precipitation. Get your creative hat on and think about creating cold frames or purchasing some fleece for your plot.

Top tip: Pay attention to local weather and have a look at what grows well in that weather, choose your plants wisely!

Plant

Now finally you’ve reached the ultimate step – plant!

At this point you should be fully planned and prepared, and know what you’re planting. So don’t hold back, get involved! Think about how you’re planting, whether you’ll be companion planting to make the most of your space or rotating crops to grow your vegetables. Get planting whatever it is you want in whatever way you want!

Top tip: Grow members of the same families across your plot, to reduce the competition for soil nutrients.

Find your local allotment and get started on this wonderful adventure today!