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new allotment - clueless! Help!!!

(10 Posts)
plasticinemachine Mon 06-Jul-15 10:04:15

Just got a letter to say I have reached the top of the waiting list! Its taken over a year, so I'm thrilled! Main reason I want the allotment is to get the kids involved in growing our own as I think its a great life lesson.

Problem is I am crap at growing stuff. I have no clue whatsoever & neither does DH. We want to give it a go though.

I'm off to look at the plot today & then will be making plans. I wish to grow organically but again have no clue. Will this make the job loads harder?

So any tips please for a first timer? What do I need to look out for when checking the plot? Where do I start??

plasticinemachine Mon 06-Jul-15 10:05:25

Oh yes, I have a dog, are dogs on leads allowed?

Betsyblue Mon 06-Jul-15 10:09:48

Watching with interest as I took over a plot last week. I'm looking forward to it for the same reasons as you.

I was quite disappointed when I went though as the previous owner has left it in an awful state- smashed glass from the greenhouse everywhere, shed panels just dumped on the ground and bags and bags of rubbish. It's quite disheartening already before I have even got to the state of the land! It wasn't like that when I went to view it and it just seems to be pointless mess.

shovetheholly Mon 06-Jul-15 11:04:06

Come join us on the allotment thread! You'll get loads of advice.

Things to look out for are: aspect (what way does it face?), soil (does it look reasonable?), facilities (is there anything you can take over, e.g. raspberries running rampant, a shed etc). Would you feel safe there with the kids on your own? Also, have a look for really rampant pernicious weeds (though few of us are lucky enough to start on a pristine site, some weeds make life harder than others. You're almost bound to have something, though - in our case, it's bindweed).

Be prepared for a lot of work to get the plot into shape at the start. In particular, with the soil. It's likely to need a lot of enriching and care, and literally tonnes of compost and manure. Once you get on top of the site though, it becomes considerably less onerous. I have done mine out so that it's pretty low maintenance - there are all kinds of tricks you can use to make sure that your workload isn't unmanageable.

I don't think growing organically makes it that much more difficult work-wise. There are so many organic products on the market nowadays! You might get the odd tut from an old-timer at your site, though!!

plasticinemachine Mon 06-Jul-15 11:05:30

Oh dear Betsyblue that is very disappointing! Sounds like a lot of work before you even really get started!

Can't wait to see mine, hopefully going this afternoon!

Where do people go for a wee by the way or has everyone just got strong bladders?!!!

Betsyblue Mon 06-Jul-15 12:19:42

I hope yours is in a better state plastic!

ethelb Mon 06-Jul-15 12:38:45

Go to the allotment thread they should be able to help.

plasticinemachine Mon 06-Jul-15 18:10:01

Thanks shovetheholly, didn't realise there was an allotment thread so will join that.

agoodbook Mon 06-Jul-15 22:44:51

I am clueless on making links - but the allotment thread is here smile

Linskibinski Tue 07-Jul-15 01:46:42

welcome plasticine! i'm new to plotting too. I would recommend highly the allotment thread. i've put pics of my plot before and after to give you an idea how bad it can get! I would recommend john harrisons book the essential allotment guide and his website. Also, Dr Hessayon the new vegetable and herb book. I would also say clear one bed at a time then plant straight in. Then you get to see stuff growing otherwise you will be chasing yourself around for months getting nowhere. Oh, and avoid any methods that involves laying tons of plastic, it is the devils own and i am digging tons of the stuff up from the last plot owner. Also, regards going the loo, I cross my legs. But when I get my shed (hopefully sometime this decade) I will be putting the basic camping loo from the camping shop into a corner (basically a bucket with a loo seat). Then i will be dumping my wee into the compost heap. I would also say my best gardening clothes are gym clothes because they are light, stretch with me and dry quickly when sweating like a pig (this you will do when plot clearing!) So welcome and enjoy it. I am loving every minute of it. grin

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