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Finding an allotment and readying it for cultivation can seem a daunting task, but with these simple steps a productive plot is easier than you might think.
Starting an allotment
While it is exciting taking on a new allotment, it can also be very daunting, especially if you inherit a neglected, overgrown plot. Before you take on a plot, check out the following factors:
If cleared by early spring, in time for early planting and sowing, a plot can give its full potential from the outset.
In cases of severe neglect this won’t be possible. If this is the case, make a realistic plan of what you can achieve in year one, year two and so on. It might be better to clear half the plot in the first year, then at least you can start growing.
Now you are ready to start planting! Make sure you make a crop rotation plan to get the best from your plot.
Ideally your new allotment will be in a sunny position but this, inevitably, is not always the case. If you have been given a plot which is partly or totally in shade, choosing fruit and vegetables that tolerant these conditions is essential.
Redcurrants, whitecurrants and gooseberries, as well as fruit such as raspberries, blackcurrants and rhubarb which originate from woodland edges will produce reasonable crops in some shade.
Apples, pears and plums prefer a more open position, but cooking apples can tolerate a partially shaded position. ‘Morello’ cherries are also productive on a shady wall.
Beetroot, chard, kale, kohl rabi and lettuce are all relatively tolerant of some shade, but sowing seeds in modules in bright conditions and then transplanting will get them off to an early start with an established root system.
Soil pests and diseases can be troublesome on new allotments. Ones to watch out for include clubroot and onion white rot.
Chemicals: storing and disposing safelyChemicals: using a sprayerChemicals: using safely and effectively Green manuringNational Society of Allotment and Leisure GardenersRHS soil analysis serviceSlugsVegetables for exhibitionWeeds: non-chemical controlWireworms
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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.