How to begin your allotment

Some basic tips to get you started

By Bridgette Saunders

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'How to begin your allotment' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'How to begin your allotment' page

I will assume that you are new to gardening and will start with some basic information and tips to get started.   You may think there is so much to do in March that it is difficult to get going fast enough – but do think about things before you start.    

Begin by looking carefully at your plot – which way is south?  If you don't have a compass you may want to use the midday sun (approx south), or an obvious landmark (from most Brighton and Hove sites the sea is approximately south) to orient yourself.  That way you can decide where to place plants that need a lot of sun or indeed that can cope with some shade eg. redcurrants, lettuces and some herbs.     

To cultivate (i.e. dig over and weed) it all at once will be very overwhelming, so decide on an area of the plot that you think you can manage - weedow much time will you have between now and the end of April – can you come after work, are you free during the day, and how about weekends?    

Make sure you have read the allotment rules: are there restrictions on what you can grow, e.g. invasive plants or materials that should be avoided, such as things that do not biodegrade: bottles, carpets etc.?   

Check the site on either side of yours:  if you are an organic gardener, you may want to check if pesticides are being used by your neighbours;  if you have children you may need to investigate any dangerous places on the site; rusty tins, broken glass etc.

This page was added by Bridgette Saunders on 13/05/2012.