Before agreeing to take an allotment have a look around the site. I suggest looking for key things, firstly what state the ground is in. It sounds obvious but it’s important to think straight away about how much time it is going to take to get the ground workable and how much time you have to give. From what I have read it suggests a minimum of 8 hours a week just to keep it ticking over and thats after the initial slog of getting the patch ready for the first plantings.
It is also important to check that if the plot has been left for some time there is something growing on it. Grass and weeds are an indication of not only the work ahead but that the ground is fertile and can grow something. If you are lucky enough to visit when its been raining it is a good time to check for water drainage. Any muddy puddles are a sign of work to be done. Talking of water another key thing is to find out where you will be getting water from to use when the weather changes and we get the longed for hot summer.
As a final note it is important to check the general position of the plot. Is it it the corner where it will be shaded by trees in the spring/ summer months? Any bushes that will also interfer with the sunshine getting through? Where does the sun move over the plot and are there any structures (other peoples sheds or fruit trees) likely to over shadow your ground?
I thought I should back track a little and start at the very beginning. We (my partner and I) got our allotment in December after only two years on the waiting list which I am told is not long in this climate of increased interest in the ‘grow your own’ trend.
I am an allotment first timer so any advice I give will be as I learn it. My first piece of advice is on being offered a plot before agreeing to take it on go and visit the site. We were lucky to be let in by one of our soon to be neighbours who gave us a brief outline of how long it had been since the patch had been worked on and a few other bits of info about the site. Ignoring the sorry tales of slugs and snails that all gardeners seemed to have been plagued with this year we went and had a look around.
Well, here it goes!
As a novice to both blogging and allotments I am, with some trepidation, about to begin my new adventure.
I hope over the following months (or should I now be referring to seasons?) to share the experience of what is going on down my beautiful plot. The plan is to change my patch of unloved, cooch grass ridden space into an all year round vegetable heaven.
I have realised that my very first task is to put the gardening books to one side and to start my research in a different direction. I am off now to try to discover the art of casting a ‘stop raining spell’. Maybe I’m aiming too high already but at least my windows will stop getting smeared from my nose being pressed against them as I look out wondering if I am ever going to actually get onto the plot to make a start.