CAA advice

Over the last few years there has been an upsurge in people wanting to rent an allotment and grow their own vegetables but, unfortunately, many of them have failed to make a success of their plot.  We would like everyone who takes on an allotment to find it an enjoyable and productive experience, and hope the following pointers will give you a good idea of what is needed to keep your plot going successfully.

Don’t underestimate the amount of time needed.  At the very least, you will need to visit your plot once a week in the growing season.  The amount of time you need to spend each week varies according to how many of you are working the plot.  Less than 5 hours a week is almost certainly not enough.  Many gardeners spend considerably more.

Learn about allotment gardening.  If you are not an experienced gardener, it’s a good idea to make use of your time waiting for a plot by getting a good book, and planning what you want to grow.

Don’t try to do too much at once.  It will probably take you at least a month or so to get your whole plot under cultivation.  Depending on the time of year, it can take even longer for your plot to become productive, although there is nearly always something you can start growing.  However, it is possible to cover part of your plot with black plastic (not carpet) to suppress weeds, until you have time to dig it thoroughly.

Keep on top of the work all year round.  Allotments need attention in all weathers and at all times of the year.  When it is hot and dry, you will need to water regularly.  Weeding is necessary all year round, or weeks will take over your plot in a a very short time.

Consideration for other plot holders.  Regular allotment gardeners are often frustrated by newcomers who allow their plots to cause problems, such as tall weeds blowing their seeds across other plots and large areas of a plot left uncultivated.  The narrow paths between plots should be kept clear of rubbish and overhanging plants, and cut regularly.

© 2019 Colchester Allotment Association