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Grow Your Own Food: How to Start an Allotment Garden

When we finally got our allotment key back in October I had so many ideas running through my head as to what I wanted to do with the space that I had. The plot we inherited had a lot of veggies that had been grown in the previous season which we were able to make use of, but also it gave us a lot of ideas of what we might want to do with the plot. There have been various drawings, various ideas in my head, but I think we’re finally finding what might work for our little plot. Come along as we turn our plot from overgrown to our little plot of dreams.

Getting some fencing up around our allotment

Having two small children on an allotment (both 2 and under when we inherited it, but 3 and 8 months as I write this post) keeping them safe and contained was a big deal. Creating a fence to keep my toddler in and stop her running off and onto other plots was the first thing I wanted to do, because once that was done she could have a bit more of a free reign. My son, who is still a baby, will soon be on the move too and so I wanted to future proof the plot and keep it safe for them both. 

We decided on a decent height edging fencing with metal poles and tied it up with some garden cable ties and it worked incredibly well. It’s the perfect height so toddlers are well contained and it’ll keep them both safe and where they should be for years to come. 

Moving our compost heap

Our next big job was moving our double compost heap and boy was it a task. The previous owner had built a big double compost heap with pallets, and while it was a great idea it was also leaning to one side and right slap bang in the middle of the plot. It just wasn’t ideal for planning our plot, so on a semi-whim we decided to move it to the far end of the plot. It wasn’t the easiest of tasks, moving the compost already in enough so that we could then move on and get the pallets out. This then meant that we were able to construct the new double compost heap at the far end of our plot and we could start the task of filling it back up.

We had a fair amount of produce that we either didn’t want to use or hadn’t quite grown well so popping that into our new compost heap was the first job, along with some pumpkins from halloween. We were then able to move the compost from the original pile and start putting it back into the heap so we could use it on our beds once they were created. 

Laying out some beds

Once the compost heap was finished and we had managed to rake over a lot of what was left in the original spot, we started to be able to see what our plot might look like. Moving the compost heap completely changed what the plot looked like and for the first time we could see quite easily how we might place our beds.

Cue a bunch more drawing on how we could possibly lay out beds, where we wanted paths etc. Next we used some string as a guide and loosely laid out some beds and paths. From there we have started to dig out some of the awful weeds (of which there are a lot) and also started to turn the soil over. Next I want to get some mulch from the compost heap on these beds, once I have weeded them as much as possible. The weeding on the plot is hard, arduous work but we are seeing some great progress now. 

Deciding on what to grow on the allotment

I have plans upon plans when it comes to what I want to grow and have already ordered most of my seeds in preparation. I am a keen balcony gardener and have enjoyed growing so many things up on my balcony. I still intend to have a balcony full of wonderful produce, so my next plan is what will be grown at the allotment and what will be grown up on the balcony. I was bought this wonderful allotment/gardening planning book for Christmas so I definitely can keep on top of my plans but also what I have planted. I don’t have a lot of space to start off seeds at home, so I am currently considering the best way to do this. I have a small plastic greenhouse on my balcony but I might need to invest in something more on the allotment. Any suggestions are most welcome!

Onto the shed

Something our plot didn’t have was a shed and that’s a big deal for us, so we’re working on getting one installed asap. We have the base all in place so next is ordering the shed and getting it up. This will absolutely transform our plot as we won’t need to transport everything we have or need every time we go, we can store some chairs and enjoy every single part of our plot.

It’s an exciting experience as we create our plot. I have no idea what I am doing and in all honesty, there is so much joy in that.

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