Congratulations! I've had mine three years and I love it. I won't lie, its bloody hard graft at times, but it really is rewarding too. Luckily dp does the heavy work ie digging beds, moving compost heaps, and I concentrate on prepping the soil, planting seeds, weeding and the like.
A lot of it is trial and error. We dug the whole allotment in year one and ended up with more weeds than produce. From year two we just dug a bit at a time which has made it all a lot more manageable.
Have a good look at the other allotments for ideas and inspiration, get to know the allotmenteers and they may well be bringing seedlings for you to plant out.
Hopefully someone a bit more experienced will be along shortly to offer proper advice, but I say go for it!
I had an allotment (it was half a plot) I work full time and in the end gave it up after 18 months (after being on the waiting list for 4 years) apart from all the digging, preparing, sewing, weeding etc is the watering. Every night after work I would nip down their (about 8mins out of my way... Unlock the massive padlock on the gate..go in and lock it again afterwards...walk down a massive hill to my plot, unlock my shed, get out the hose and unravel, walk further down the hill to attach it to the nearest tap... Water everything then pack it all away again. In all it took about an hour before I got home. Then there's cooking dinner etc etc as you can imagine the novelty wore off pretty quickly. In terms of time. I would say 1/2 day every weekend (at least) and an hour every evening in the summer. There were people down there that spend most of their life there. I think an allotment is only really suitable for those that don't work full time or have other commitments etc. one important thing that I learnt was that you don't actually need much space to grow veg. I only had a half plot but was giving away about 90% of what I grew! I now have veggies growing in my garden amongst the flower beds and its brilliant. I can water it all whilst dinner is cooking and nip out to pick stuff etc without it being a chore. Allotments are great but take a lot of commitment so if none of the above pits you off then go for it and enjoy!!
how often do most people water their allotments? I can see that you would need to do more if its boiling hot and very dry and less if its rainy.......but this summer, for example, are you down there every day watering everything or just sometimes and some things?
what tips do people have for cutting down the work and roughly how long should people allow per week?
I've just been offered one too, and have my doubts about managing it, but the site is right next to my DCs primary school, where I do all the school runs, it's a small site and my plot is next to a tap, so I hope I'll manage, the summer holidays are my worry, although it's only about 6 mins walk from home. I'm planning to avoid things that need too much watering in the first year.