|A Year on the Allotment - January - Preparing Ground|
A Year on the Allotment
A series that aims to help new allotment growers to get started and produce lovely crops to eat.
This post is about getting your plot ready for growing, but not all at once, doing it one bed at a time. That way you can see visible progress and get some crops growing quickly.
1.1 January - Preparing Ground
January is the time to start thinking ahead, planning and preparing for the new growing season.
Its a great time of year to get going and start looking forward to warmer and sunnier days ahead.
It is too early for sowing or planting most crops, but any preparation work that you put in now will pay dividends later in the year. Besides - there is not a lot else to do on the plot at this time of year.
|Clearing Ground on the Allotment|
If you've done a plan for your plot and crops - start by working on the beds where your first will be sown. I usually start the year with Potatoes and Broad Beans. If you haven't yet drawn up a plan, no matter, start in one corner of your plot and work outwards.
|Planning Your Allotment|
Allotment Planning - Crops and Crop Rotation
First - a tip for new allotment growers, who have just taken on a new plot.
Don't try to do everything at once!
I've seen many new plot holders try to clear the entire space before getting any crops in the ground. Some do succeed, but many get discouraged by the amount of work and the lack of visible progress. They then often give up.
|Clearing Beds - One at a Time|
So - choose an area to work on and get going!
First - mark out your bed with some string if it is not already defined clearly.
Dig out and clear any weeds. A hoe will be enough for most weeds, but and grass / turf may need digging out with a spade and fork. Add the weeds to the compost bin.
|Growing Beds - Adding Compost|
If you don't have either, don't worry, crops will still grow. Making your own compost takes a year or so. One of the first things to do on a new plot is getting a compost pile going, which you can build up through the year, then cover and leave to rot down until the following Autumn.
|Allotment - Compost Bin|
Building A Wooden Pallet Compost Bin
I generally follow a "No Dig" approach to my growing beds. I don't dig any of the compost or leaf mould in, I just rake it roughly level and leave it on the surface. The weather and worms will work it into the ground for me.
Once you are done - you'll have the satisfaction of a new growing bed ready for crops later in the year. You may need to give it a hoe to remove any weeds that pop up, but that's about it.
|Allotment Growing Beds - Ready for Planting|
Here are a couple of blog posts with more about that:
Spring On The Allotment - First Sowings - Potatoes
Spring Sowing On The Allotment - Broad Beans and more ....
More posts for A Year on the Allotment coming soon.
Get inspired - get going.