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SWCAA’s 10 Top Tips for Allotment Holders

10th April 2018

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South West Counties Allotment Association is a nationally recognised support organisation for allotment holders and gardeners. The friendly, modern voice of the allotment movement, this organisation is proud to be celebrating its 10th anniversary. Founded in 2008 it was formed out of concern for the lack of allotment protection and provision across the UK.

A not-for-profit Community Interest Company, it is run by gardeners for gardeners and has thousands of members across the country from individual plot holders to associations/societies and community groups of all types, as well as working with local councils and private landowners.

The SWCAA has helped many people to protect their existing allotment sites, create new ones, start an association or go self-managed. This organisation can provide you with a wealth of support, information, advice and guidance for all your allotment needs.

Read through SWCAA’s 10 top tips for allotment holders for advice from experienced growers.

Plan your allotment
Take your time to make the best use of the space you have, before you plant anything. Drawing it out on paper will give you a better idea and provide a future reminder of where you planted what.

Be selective
It’s easy to get carried away, there are so many different varieties of fruit and vegetable out there. Try and only plant what you like, and in the quantities you know you will use.

Start a compost heap
It’s a great place for all your vegetable waste but not perennial weeds, and it is the best soil conditioner you can get.

Don’t be tempted to sow seeds or plant out too early
Nothing will grow or germinate if conditions are cold and wet, so the key is to be patient. Nature always has a way of catching up.

Plant flowers and herbs
Not only are these crops colourful and tasty, but they are great for attracting pollinating insects which will also help keep pests under control.

Get the right tools
You don’t need loads, just stick to the essentials of a fork, spade, rake, hoe, trowel and watering can.

Know your soil
Testing kits are cheap to buy, and they will help you see what plants will do the best on your plot, or that you need to improve your soil. Seeing what others on your site are growing is also a good indicator of what veg does well.

Read your tenancy agreement
It will tell you what you can and cannot do especially with regards to keeping chickens, having bonfires, a shed or greenhouse. Once you sign it you must abide by it.

Be patient
It takes time for a plot to develop – little and often wins the race. Clear and prepare what you can, then cover the rest to suppress the weeds.

Remember to take the time to appreciate your plot. There will be successes and failures no matter how good a gardener you are, but don’t despair as there is always next year.

To find out about what the SWCAA does plus lots more allotment related information visit


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