Basic advice on starting your allotment

  1. Conserve water, use water butts and avoid over watering which can weaken or destroy crops. Add mulch or organic matter annually. Only use hosepipes to fill containers, not for watering crops (tenancies can be terminated where this practice is not followed).
  2. When you start your allotment don't try and do it all at once. Put bin bags over a portion of the garden to kill off any weeds and just cultivate a portion of the land that you feel comfortable with at the beginning.
  3. Dig in early. If possible, turn the soil in autumn as the winter frosts will break down the clods of soil. If not, do it in spring, but you will have to break the soil down yourself.
  4. Buy good quality seeds and plants to avoid disappointment.
  5. For the best crops, do your research and know when to plant! Your local library will have books that can help.
  6. With non-storable crops such as lettuce, it is best to plant a little but often, say one row at a time to avoid waste.
  7. Be sure to thin crops out as they grow to avoid clustering. This will result in better quality plants.
  8. Pick crops early and often. Enjoy the food whilst it's fresh. You'll enjoy it so much more and it will help you to keep your enthusiasm.
  9. Tackle problems promptly. The worst thing you can do is leave a problem. There is help available; speak to the Allotment Secretary or Allotment Liaison Officer who will be only too happy to help.
  10. Be green! Compost green material and kitchen waste, such as egg shells and potato peelings, in the bin at your allotment. It's better for the environment than burning it and the compost is great for your plants as well.

Above all remember; allotment gardening is fun, it's healthy and it's a great way to meet people. So the most important thing is to enjoy your allotment!