allotments - first time owner, any hints/tips?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by True Romance, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. True Romance

    True Romance
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    OK not sure AVF is the best place to ask about allotments (will be signing up to a gardening website, any recommendations?) but hey ho...

    So hopefully we should be getting our very first allotment this afternoon so was just wondering if anyone owns an allotment and has any hints and tips for first time owners. Any mistakes or things you would do different? Also looking for idea's for growing something a little different to the usual carrots, cabbage, etc. I will be using it for growing flowers/plants for pots, baskets, etc and the Mrs will be growing all the other things. TBH its more of an excuse to get out the house and do some exercise.

    Many thanks,
    TR.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2013
  2. Solomon Grundy

    Solomon Grundy
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    Calabrese (type of broccoli), Kale, Chard, Coriander are all pretty good for sowing at this time of year.
     
  3. True Romance

    True Romance
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    Sorry forgot to ask...

    are poly-tunnels any good or should we go for a proper greenhouse?

    example below;

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Solomon Grundy

    Solomon Grundy
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    Greenhouse will be better but depending on what you want to plant you shouldn't really need one at all.
     
  5. mrspoons

    mrspoons
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    Get yourself a decent rotovator, weed suppressant fabric and a bucket load of glysophate from ebay to kill any weeds that come through.
    Don't expect too much in the first year and use that time to turn over the plot a few times to make sure the soil is well broken up and has plenty of nutrients in it.
    Have a look at realseeds.co.uk for more obscure vegetable plants

    And only plant a couple of courgette plants otherwise you will be sick to death of them when the inevitable glut appears.
     
  6. True Romance

    True Romance
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    Just been to see our plot and the good news is it already has a greenhouse and a shed (still full of tools?), the bad news is its very overgrown and massive :eek: Didn't realise how big the plots are! Might have bitten off more than we chew :(
     
  7. county angler

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    We bought some agricultural land earlier this year that we plan to farm once the infastrucure is in place but job 1 was a veg patch.

    Within the space of a couple of months we went from this

    [​IMG]


    to this (only a corner of the plot as a whole!)

    [​IMG]
     
  8. duncan159

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    Don't be put off by the size of the allotement. I'm in my second year and use about 2/3rd of the area so far for growing (up from about half last year).

    The main tip I would give is make sure you have a plan. I have an area that is set aside for fruits (raspberry, blackcurrent, gooseberrys...that sort of thing) and then the rest is in managable size sections.

    Don't forget crop rotation, to keep diseases down to a minimum, and grow thing that you like to eat.

    I have kept my tools to a minimum but I did need a grass strimmer, so I went in with a couple of other plot holders and we bought a petrol one.
     
  9. ufitsy

    ufitsy
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    I've had an allotment for few years now, don't worry about making mistakes, we all do it. Best bit of advice I could give is if you're not growing anything on any part of your allotment, then cover it up - the weeds can be demoralising, best cover is an old tarpaulin of some thick membrane weighted down.

    My best tools are a good fork and a hoe. Hoe when it's dry nipping the top off the weeds - it is surprising how much ground you can cover. My best book is the vegetable and herb garden expert by dg hessayon.

    Grow rigidly in straight lines, makes weeding easier.

    Don't forget to enjoy it and don't feel guilty if you can't get up there.

    Easy crops are onions garlic potatoes leeks broad beans runner beans
     
  10. Cobb

    Cobb
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    I can't really offer any advice, but good luck and enjoy. My brother took on a patch around 6months ago and the amount of fruit and veg he brings over is enormous. Tastes fantastic too :thumbsup:
     
  11. True Romance

    True Romance
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    Guys thanks for all the replies. Really looking forward to getting stuck in and start getting the plot back into shape. Just got to sign the forms and get the keys to the gates next week and we should be ready to move in. Think I'm more excited than having some new AV kit :)
     
  12. True Romance

    True Romance
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    Ok finally got the keys, now where to start :(

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Steve N

    Steve N
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    A scythe and a rake :)

    Then a spade, then Voltarol :D
     
  14. True Romance

    True Romance
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    lol, was thinking about taking all the tools over then opening a can (or two) and spend the afternoon planning things out ;) No point rushing things :)
     
  15. Steve N

    Steve N
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    Ah, my apologies.
    Everything becomes clear, stupid of me.
    The real agenda is revealed - A man only retreat/escape hole :laugh:
     
  16. Redline

    Redline
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    Watched this on BBC the other day. Allotment wars. Very entertaining.
    Crazy some of the stuff that goes on. weed killer in water butts. putting slugs and snails on other peoples plots. stealing veg. :eek:

    [ame=http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xx0ak6_allotment-wars-couchtripper-mp4_lifestyle]Allotment Wars - couchtripper.mp4 - Video Dailymotion[/ame]
     
  17. True Romance

    True Romance
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    Yes watched that show. Made me laugh that someone stole his prize carrot from the judging table!
     
  18. True Romance

    True Romance
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    Well we're make slow but steady progress. ripping up all the old borders and staring again, hard work but should hopefully pay off next year.

    Also had the joy of listening to "Scouting for Girls" doing a sound check this morning as they are performing at Wolverhampton racecourse tonight which is only around 0.5 miles away. Only me the Mrs and our daughter on the allotment so It was almost like having our own private concert :)

    [​IMG]
     
  19. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    My advice, do a little a lot. I went for a full plot that had been fallow for years and was riddled with perennial weeds and 5 foot high wild bramble humps. I'd go hell for leather and clear a third of it only to go back a few weeks later and find they were all back. I throttled back and resorted to keeping 3/4 of it strimmed short to meadow status while bringing a quarter under cultivation, with the plan of bringing the next quarter(s) under cultivation over the next few years.

    No such luck, I got a letter from "The Management" that autumn that they expected 90% of it to be under cultivation or ready for planting by the beginning of the next season. As I'd just put my back out, I reluctantly handed back the keys.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
  20. True Romance

    True Romance
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    That's such a shame :( Seems like the rules on our allotment are pretty relaxed, most seem to have only cultivated 50-60% of their plots which is what we will be aiming for. Lets hope we don't get a letter through the post :eek:
     
  21. IronGiant

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    Probably the most money and effort I ever put in for four raspberries, which was the sum total I ever got from it :laugh:
     
  22. paulr

    paulr
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    Regarding the polytunnels, there are a few photo's on Amazon showing what a gust of wind can do.
     
  23. True Romance

    True Romance
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    Update as to where we are....

    Most beds now made and covered for the winter. Hopefully and weeds will be dead by the time I remove the covers? Mrs says it looks like a graveyard :)

    [​IMG]


    Put a fence around as our plot is a little exposed.

    [​IMG]


    Our first veg in the ground, potatoes for Christmas hopefully??

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  24. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965
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    Does look a lot harder work than my weekend planting shrubs in [-]concrete[/-] very hard soil. :D We're going to add a small vegetable patch in a corner of our back garden next year, but nothing like as much as your hard work.

    Hope you enjoy the Christmas potatoes. :thumbsup: You could have planted sprouts, but they would need to be in the saucepan, on the boil now to be ready to eat on Christmas day. :D
     
  25. IronGiant

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    Nice work :smashin:
     
  26. jagdeepp

    jagdeepp
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    I've never really understood the purpose of allotments. Silly question but do I resume they are used by those who don't have gardens?
     
  27. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    or who have small gardens and/or prefer roses outside the house to cabbages :)
     
  28. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    I'm sure this comes under the blindingly obvious but it is always worth checking with the other allotment owners what grows well and what doesn't. My mother in law learned quickly that Beans raspberries and blackcurrants (and ahem marijuana*) all grow brilliantly but potatoes are basically a non starter.

    *If GCHQ happens to be scanning the digital waves and reads this, the allotmenters aren't actually growing the stuff, it literally takes root like, erm, a weed.
     
  29. sniffer66

    sniffer66
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    My mum and dad have a double allotment that they managed to grab a few years ago. We are currently eating their organically grown carrots, plums, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, peppers and assorted berries. They taste great and has saved us a fortune this summer :)

    My dad does WI presentations on allotment growing now and his first recommendation is to befriend the other holders. At his place they all help each other out with watering whilst away and growing advice. The social aspect is good for them as well as that are retired. They often get given seeds etc
     
  30. True Romance

    True Romance
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    Our rear garden is pretty small as I build an extension for my cinema room and also put in a small above ground swimming pool taking up most of the space. To be honest for me having the allotment was more of an excuse for getting out the house. Sure if we did have the space at home we wouldn't bother with it. Anyway time will tell if we can stick at it but so far loving it.
     

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