A newbie to an allotment and growing

Hi,

I have inherited a full size plot which is pretty big, although I haven’t actually measured it. I’m having a mare with it because I’ve dug large areas at a time and it just keeps growing back. If I’m honest I haven’t had that much time to spend there with working so many extra hours and finishing my degree. Anyway, I was thinking of maybe having beds on one half to make it a little easier for me to manage. So any advice on how to construct a bed and what I would need to do in preparation would be great!

Also, what could I do at this time of year? I’ve read some people cover it autumn/winter ready for spring/summer.

Thank you :blush:

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Congratulations on your allotment! Firstly, the good news is that you don’t have to build raised beds, you can mark them out with paths inbetween. When you get started, I’d recommend no-dig gardening, as advocated by Charles Dowding. He has a lot of videos on YouTube. And don’t feel you have to plant everything all at the same time. Work on a patch, keep the rest covered with a green manure until you’re ready.

I’ve found the two hardest things with annual veg is weeding regularly and planning which crops go in when.

If you’re pushed for time, do consider growing perennial vegetables. I’ve created a very rough list of perennial vegetable alternatives to annuals, plus Alison Tindale at Backyard Larder has lots of information. My current favourites are Jerusalem Artichokes (fermented) and Turkish Rocket. You might even be allowed to grow fruit bushes on the allotment.

Hope that helps and good luck :slightly_smiling_face:

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In my first allotment year I thought I was going to do it all ‘old school’ like my Dad had, but found that double digging is blooming hard - who knew! Had an enlightening chat with the community centre growing team, who had a quadruple site a bit further up to me. They had laid cardboard down on the entire site, put raised beds on top of the cardboard, then filled the gaps in between with wood chippings to create paths. Once you get your growing medium in the beds, the cardboard breaks down into the soil - no digging! After that, my second year was much easier. :smile:

I did the cardboard and raised beds (made from decking boards) in one half and covered the remainder in a massive piece of tarpaulin sheeting (to kill off the couch grass). Grew loads of different varieties of beans, some radish for a quick crop, and a couple of ears of corn. Had great fun, until I had to give the plot up due to failing health. I miss it, but we moved to a place with a bigger garden so I am trying to create a mini plot. Did great with French beans last year, this year nothing germinated! I am doing OK with spring onions, herbs and chillies though :smile:

Good luck with the plot :smile:

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Hi,

Thank you for replying! some really useful tips :smiley: it can quite overwhelming and all the information online too. I will look through your list of perennials, I have no doubt will be helpful!

I just feel like all I am doing is digging and digging and getting no where as it just keeps growing back haha

Thanks again :smiley:

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Hi,

Thank you for your response! really helpful, I have read somewhere else that card board can be used. In my head I have these ideas but no idea where to start :joy:

Sorry to hear you had to give it up :disappointed: hopefully your little plot will be up and running and I more manageable :slight_smile:

I think I will focus on covering it up this year, especially one half where I plan to put some beds.

Thanks again :slight_smile:

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I’m in a similar position. Have just got a huge allotment after 6 years on a waiting list and while I’m mega excited, it’s also really daunting. I’ve dug 1 bed at a time and planted up the first 3. Bed 1 has carrots, beetroot and radishes. Bed 2- French beans and bed 3- potatoes for Christmas. I wanted to see something growing to make it worthwhile. The rest of the beds I’m digging then covering ready for next year so that I can focus on getting the rest of the plot into some sort of order. I have a plan to get fruit bushes in in autumn so am going to prepare areas for that next. Was getting a bit overwhelming as the weeds grow faster than I can dig so I have just made a plan to order shed loads of weed membrane to keep other parts under control until I can get to them.
Dunno about you but I went about it like a bull at a gate for the first month and kind of wore myself out. It needs to be fun too I think. I think we’ve achieved loads in the first 4 weeks but then I look at the rest that needs doing.
Just be kind to yourself :slight_smile:

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Raised beds won’t make it easier necessarily but focussing on an area will.

With weeds, they do constantly grow back and the key is hoeing them away early enough and regularly enough. :blush: good luck! The more you do bit by bit, it becomes easier.