Frequently Asked Questions

If you are new to having an allotment, then congratulations on your new hobby. It is not only good, free exercise but at the end of your labour you get to eat some tasty crops. I have been asked to pen a page of frequently asked questions with regard to the site. I wasn't told if I actually had to give answers to the questions but I thought I would throw in a couple, even though they might not be correct! They might, however, give rise to discussion from some others who may have a lot more experience than me. The first question is usually - what tools will I need? Obviously this depends on the amount of money you want to spend and how many labour saving gadgets you want to invest in. The basics have to be a spade, a fork, a rake and a trowel. If you have taken over a plot that has not been cared for, the weeds need to come off and the plot dug over. Little and often is the key here. Do not set yourself a task that is too big. You will soon get fed up with all the hard work.  If the weather allows plant something as soon as you can in the space you have cleared. Potatoes, onions, garlic and shallots are good basics and can go in very early. How often should I go to my plot?  The minimum time you could get away with is about four hours in the winter. This will allow you to start to prepare the ground and give you time to start thinking where your crops will go. Once Christmas is past then your time should extend with the lighter, brighter days. I aim to go to the site three times a week for four hours each time, but this doesn't always get the jobs done. In the height of the growing season going daily is not out of the question. The weeds will grow at an alarming rate, your crops need to be planted, tended and harvested and then there is of course the mandatory task of chatting with your neighbours. Is the horse manure free? Yes! I notice a lot of plot holders spread the horse manure straight onto their plot at the end of the season. I did this once and was rewarded the next spring by growing some of the best and largest weeds around. I therefore now compost before spreading! However, the direct approach seems to work for others. Who mows my paths? You are responsible for the paths surrounding your plot. Please do not rely on others to do it for you; it rarely happens. If I am cutting my paths I will tidy up the grass around the tanks on the main path and the fronts of my neighbours plot. It doesn't take much longer and if everybody helped in this way the whole site would look even better than it does already. Please remember basic rules of courtesy when on site. Don't wander around other plots unless you have been invited. Be sensible when watering; throwing buckets of water randomly over your crops only succeeds in wasting water that has to be paid for – by you. Do not drive your car up the main path; it is getting badly rutted and is very difficult to mow in the summer.  When you are in the shop you will see that there are many gardening magazines available for no charge, they will help with many other questions you may have and give you many ideas for projects you may like to try. Enjoy! .
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