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  • New allotment New to Gardening

    Hello, I have just got a new allotment which I am hoping to grow vegetables on but have not gardened since I was a child (40 years ago). I have an emply space right now, it only needs to be rotivated (think thats what it is called) as it has been empty for years.

    Can anybody advise what sort of crop would be an easy starter while we are learning. We do not have a greenhouse at present so will be growing mostly from seeds. I have been told there is not much we should be doing until on it until spring? (is this true) so I want to spend this time reasearching.

    Any advice greatly received.

  • #2
    New allotment

    Suzy
    Hi and welcome to the 'vine. Don't have an allotment myself - they don't exist up here, at least not this far north anyway - though I am jealous of all who do.
    There are a number of forum members who are in a similar position to yourself , having just been allocated a plot or just enetering their first full year, so there is plentty of advice to be had by looking at previous threads.

    As far as crops go, potatoes are a good bet - not too difficult, excellent choice of varieties, food most of the year through, and whats more, they keep down the weeds and break up the soil beautifully.

    There is a thread elsewhere which is titled "best beginner veg" or something similar, which I am sure will give you an insight into which veggies other forum members find easiest to grow - myself, I would go for runner beans.

    The 'vine is a great source of information and if you have a question , just ask and you can be certain that someone somewhere will have an answer for you.

    In the meantime, I can recommend Joy Larckom's book, "Grow your own vegetables" - everyone who has a copy recommends it to others!

    Good Luck and welcome once again

    Rat
    Rat

    British by birth
    Scottish by the Grace of God

    http://scotsburngarden.blogspot.com/
    http://davethegardener.blogspot.com/

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    • #3
      New Alllotment - What not to do I believe

      I don't have an allotment but the peeps on my RHS course say that the last thing you should do is rotavate the whole lot and try to use it all in one go-
      1 - if there are perennial weeds you will chop all the roots into itty bitty pieces and end up with a thousand more weeds than you started with!
      2 - you will end up having to keep the whole plot free of annual weeds while also trying to sow all the seeds and water and feed it all in one go and it may get on top of you!
      So - I would suggest you clear a section at a time for use and leave the grass etc on the rest until you can clear another section.
      I would love to have an allotment but know I d on't have the time currently to do it justice..
      No doubt some more experienced allotmenteeers will come along and give you the benefit of their (real) experience too!
      I am jealous - but hope you make a real success of it and have lots of lovely veggies

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      • #4
        Thanks for the advice. The info on the rotavator makes sense and I shall keep an eye out for Joy Larckham's book.

        Suzy

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        • #5
          Suzy. I don't have an allotment but if I did I would buy an Azada. Some people call them Mattocks. These are the tool of choice by many around the world. After reading all about them I am inclined to want one, but as I only have a small garden with raised beds there is no longer a need for one.
          here is the information. Mattocks
          Jax

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          • #6
            Just realised I have another question. I am planning to visit my allotment next week-end to buy some seeds from the allotment shop. Have decided to go for Potatoes, carrots, runner beans, courgettes, onions and beetroot. Is there anything I should be doing to the soil beforehand. As I stated previously the plot has not been used for a few years, the manager of the site said it should be good to go. What with the weather we are having in Bedfordshire the soil is pretty wet. When should I start seeding?

            Thanks Jaxom, I shall find out what a Azada is (as I said I am new to gardening so will probably be posting some really stupid questions)

            Suzy

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            • #7
              With an Azada/Mattock you can do all the heavy digging. It looks far easier than using a spade, as most people in the UK do. An Azada/Mattock would remove the need of a rotavator,which most people feel does more harm to the soil than good. The weight of the rotavator compacts the earth and as you walk behind it your body weight compacts it again.
              With the Azada/Mattock the weight of the blade as it drop drives it into the ground braking up the earth then all you do is pull. you also miove bacwards so never need to walk on what you have just dug. It looks far easier than double digging.
              A Azada/Mattock is also good for clearing weeds and brambles from a plot. You could also use it for skimming the top layer of turf off the plot. Take a look at the web pages above and see what you think?
              Jax

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              • #8
                Thanks - I have a 10 plot allotment, will I and the Azada be able to cope with such a large space?

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                • #9
                  Suzy you will need to buy seed potatoes (which are small potatoes) and I plant mine in the middle of April. For runner beans buy seed (which is dried runner beans) and start these off indoors in small pots one per pot at the end of April and plant them out at the end of May. Courgettes seeds need to be planted on their edge one per small pot at the end of April and plant them out at the start of June. Carrot seed is sowed very thinly. Just draw a line in the soil, sow the seed, cover with soil and water. It is a very shallow line (drill). This is from April until the end of June. Beetroot is the same as carrots. With onions buy onion sets ( which are tiny onions) and plant these so that just the tip is showing above ground level at the end of March or the beginning of April.
                  [

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                  • #10
                    Suzy that was a rushed reply because I keep getting disconnected (new ISP). With courgettes you will only need two plants. A good book is The Vegetable And Herb Expert by Dr.D.G.Hessayon. You can buy it at garden centres and it costs £7.
                    [

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                    • #11
                      Thanks to you all for all the advice. I feel a bit more confident that I will grow something edible now.

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                      • #12
                        Welcome Suzy. I have just embarked on my first allotment so am in exactly the same boat as you. I can recommend both books allready mentioned.

                        Wish you all the luck and make sure you come back and tell us how your getting on.

                        Thanks to Jaxom for the Mattock advice.. think i'll be purchasing one of those!

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                        • #13
                          book

                          This indeed is an excellent book and have used it for years. Infact I now own 2 of them!! The new one at home and the old one is in the shed on the allotment to refer to on site. Unfortunately it is covered in mud and the pages resemble cardboard! I only wish there were non-chemical suggestions to pest control. Having read with sheer admiration the contribution Geordie made about composting I wonder if he could be tempted ( with a little help from Bob Flowerdew) to update the info??! Otherwise how about offering the challenge to GYO?
                          "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

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                          • #14
                            Hello Suzy,
                            I would certainly follow the advise given in the veg and herb expert. When I had an allotment it was my bible and proved very successful. I have noticed from recent catalogues new varieties of most things so you will find some not listed, if you choose these, good luck.
                            One thing I can recommend is DO NOT rotavate your allotment, you will spend all your time weeding.
                            Good luck with your first year I hope you enjoy it.

                            Cheers

                            Charliefred

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                            • #15
                              Hi Suzy
                              I took on a plot 3 or 4 years ago and am still clearing it.
                              Your first flush of enthusiasm will make you try and do the lot ... and you end up with a bad back !! (i do anyway:-))
                              The best advise i was give is little and oftern like alchohol. If you can get up ther for 1 hr a day 3 or 4 times a week it's amazing how much you can do in a week, other wise you'll do all day one week and won't be able to do anything for ages recovering!

                              I've never tried it, but you can plant your spud under black plastic and this will keep the light out and help to kill the weeds and the spud will grow the make a cut in the plastic to let the tops through. If you can put some manure down first, the worms will dig it in for you. I know people who have done this and it sounds easier (maybe to easy?
                              I have a well thumbed copy of the garden expert book as well. Good look with the lottie. (take some photo's so you can see what you've acheived, it always lfts the spirits)
                              ntg
                              Never be afraid to try something new.
                              Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark.
                              A large group of professionals built the Titanic


                              ==================================================

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