A new allotmenteer

Hi All
Was told there would be at least a years waiting list for a plot, kept asking, and have been offered a 56ft x 23ft plot if I fancy a challenge !!
Its 120 sq mtrs. I have made an action plan.
20ft x 10ft Polytunnel. 8ft x 6ft Shed. Old council paving slabs for paths.
I have mapped out a spreadsheet which will hopefully work.
I have as many wooden pallets as I could ever need, and fold away pallets for raised beds.
If I say yes, and take the plot, there is so much rubbish, weeds etc to get rid of.
My wife says “do I really want to take that on at 64”, of course I do.
Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks

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Blimey! That’s quite a plot you have got your hands on :slight_smile: When I got my allotment the first thing I did was to create a seating area. Nothing fancy, just a clear space where I set up a bench, table and some storage. Nothing worse when you don’t have a place to sit and have a brew!

Don’t try and do everything at once - one guy had his plot so beautifully ordered and I moaned to him that mine was dreadful by comparison. He told me it had taken him six years to get it the way he wanted it and so I should just take things slowly!

But also check the requirements of your allotment society (or council) as some of them require a certain percentage of the plot to be ‘worked’ within the first year of ownership.

Good luck and please post photo’s as you go along :slight_smile:

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Great tips from Jackie.

If it’s just weeds don’t worry about them as they’re pretty easy to deal with. If it’s actual rubbish and unnecessary junk, I would start by getting rid of all that to give you a clean site.

Then as Jackie says, begin working through the site one area at a time. Don’t try and do it all otherwise you’ll end up playing whack a mole with the weeds, you’ll weed one area to find they’ve popped back in the spot you weeded last week :smile:

Covering areas in cardboard is a good way of keeping weeds at bay. Or growing other things that really smother the ground.

Perhaps start by planting some dwarf fruit trees and fruit bushes if your allotment allows them as these will be easy to manage in future and give you some easy fruit wins.

My allotment is 250sq metres and it has taken me the best part of six years to get it into a state I want but it’s still not perfect. Some areas are now well under control though which makes life easier.

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Plot almost dug over now. Manure delivered. Winter cabbage and sprouts in, onions in, greenhouse built and in situ. Feel a bit silly with a pallet fence around my plot. Gas cooker in shed for a brew. My own water supply now laid, so hopefully we may get some veg next year !!
Adrian

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Wow you have done loads Adrian! Well done. And a green house with a shed a brew too, couldn’t be more perfect!

Hello Adrian

As a new allotmenteer (this last week) I read your posts with interest on progress you have made (so quickly) and wondered whether you have had trouble keeping on top of the management of the plot - ie have you ‘filled’ the plot with seedlings / plants/ bushes etc or is there a percentage of your plot still a blank canvas?

I am asking because I was planning on keeping mine covered with plastic and just unfurl 2metres at a time - dig it over and dig in some well rotted manure as I go. The plus side is that I won’t have excessive amount of weeds to manage as Jack mentioned on one of his responses to you. The negative side is there is going to be a rush in Spring to reveal and dig over more soil when planting starts to take off (and it looks a bit unsightly until it is all dug over).

My gut feel is to take Jack’s advice and just to get a % of the plot managed and up and running and then unfurl the plastic once I have the first section planted up. The plot looks a lot better than it did a week ago so I doubt anyone will complain!!

May I also ask you how many hours a week (roughly) do you work on the allotment?
As I am working (for myself) I clock off presently for 1 or 2 hours a day to the allotment but I hope my motivation continues…! I try and plan what I am going to do next visit before I leave the plot - and not be too ambitious.

Welcome your thoughts on your progress so far - the good and the bad as you are a few months ahead of me! Your plot is much larger than mine - mine is 20metres by 5 metres.

Rgds Sarah

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Hi Sarah
My allotment has, summerhouse/shed built, greenhouse built, pathway laid between my main beds, 8 raised beds built, strawberries, basil, mint, sage and spinach planted. We have had a feed from the sprouts.
I have dug in farmyard (not horse) manure and mushroom compost into the soil. I am finding hundreds of acorns that the squirrels have hidden and rats have left their calling card in my compost bin. My seeds have been ordered through our allotment shop and my seed potatoes have been ordered. My plot has nearly all the other allotmenteer’s walking past, great to hear their well done’s, but not much good when they all want a chat and therefore always go home without completing what I went there for, but there ya go. I am part time at work (3 day week) after 48 years with the gas company. I do try to get to the allotment most days as I live only 1/2 mile away in Eastbourne. We have so many ladies taking up the hobby, I believe I heard on radio 4 that women were responsible for 64% of England allotments, but what about the ironing and the hoovering ? (only joking of course). I have placed 18 inch pieces of steel pipe in the beds ready for the plastic gas pipe to go in to form a hoop and protect my plants from all pests in the spring. It is very important to listen to all the expierienced people for help, so of it has been poo pooed by the others but as I am a virgin allotmenteer I happy to listen and learn. Nice to know someone has read my rubbish. Keep up the good work and drop me a line whenever.
Adrian

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Great to get your reply Adrian

I will be interested in your steel pipe / protection idea - I can’t quite visualise it but share it if it works!!
I haven’t got onto protecting plants as yet (as have no plants). I am lucky I have a ‘guru’ next to my plot…he has three plots around the allotment and very knowledgeable - he found the rhubarb on my plot of weeds which was just one stalk in the ground! Very impressed. Very happy to have rhubarb there already.

So it sounds like you have a combo of raised beds and main beds. I have been pondering this myself. I have some raised beds at home (spinach chard carrots and basil this summer) and I like them a lot. I get chicken manure from our hens and horse manure from my friend (3 year old - manure not friend ha!) so I can top up raised beds easier than main plot perhaps… I think the winter 2020 and spring 2021 will be experimental!

I have had 1-2 hours a day on allotment - time goes so fast down there. I get the interruptions too but all lovely people and just saying hello and telling me what grows well so for a newby that’s fine. You can always put headphones on and just wave!!

Ordered my potatoes ‘earlies’ and garlic…as this seems what people are doing…no idea really!!! Ha!

Broad beans going in - my one son tells me he likes them. Ordered Suttons and now a lovely friend tells me I should have bought ‘aquadulce’ which are supposedly delicious…noted for next year.

I read my notes and I know I am a complete amateur but hopefully it makes others look positively professional! Enjoy!

Sarah

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Sarah
Yeah, I’ve told Aquadulce are the best beans too.
I push an 18 inch piece of 1 inch steel gas pipe into the ground, leaving 2 inches proud. I then place another 3 feet across the bed and do the same. Then with 20mm yellow gas/blue water plastic pipe I cut it 6ft 6 ins long, push both ends of the plastic hoop into the proud steel pipe (above sizes are perfect. Across a 12ft wide bed, repeat a further 3 hoops. From Screwfix, get a 50 metre roll of scaffolding netting (it is 2 metres wide (they use it on scaffolding to stop materials falling on to the public). Then stretch it out over the 4 hoops and secure at ends and sides with metal tent pegs. My raised beds are made from fold away wooden pallet extensions, B and Q sell them at about £20 a go, but we use loads at work, so I have “borrowed” them for a while !!
Speak again, good luck.
Adrian

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Hi all
Found these photos of my first day on site.
Will try and do some more up to date ones soon.
Adrian
Merry Xmas to you all

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Lots of grass to get under control there! :blush:

Wow - your face says it all!! I am assuming you have made some progress. It is good to take photos of progress…eg garlic is doing well on the windowsill, planted Christmas Eve!!! I have re-used plastic containers and toilet roll middles.

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Yes, photos of progress really hit home and show you all you have accomplished. They seem pointless at the beginning but when you look back you think, whoa, look at it now.