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  • Our allotment also a question

    Hello all,

    We finally got our allotment on Tuesday, we have been around there every evening since just to see what we need to do.
    It measures about 10 metres by 5 metres. After speaking to a few other allotment holders, they say this is quite small.

    Our main reasons for having the allotment is to hopefully sustain ourself of eating, the only thing we will need to buy really are apples and bananas, unless we see an apple tree somewhere in the wild
    Also the second main reason is to teach our daughter how things grow and so she can grow things too when she is older.

    What we would like to know is, is the size of the plot okay to sustain us with? We don't eat that much variety of vegetables, potatoes, peppers, carrots, onions, leeks, parsnips, peas, beans (kidney, haricot, broad). We have a balconey also, but its on the corner of the building and the wind snaps round quite harshly. We are going to grow herbs and salad crops at home in pots

    If we were to use raised beds how big do you think they should be?

    Sorry about all the questions, we are both new at this allotment lark. Also here are some pictures of the plot.

    This is the back of the plot, up to the compost bin and the metal fence in the right of the picture.


    Down to the pushchair across to the little peg along the right of the picture.


    Across to the compost bin.


    Tara
    Last edited by Princess Unicorn; 13-05-2010, 07:32 PM. Reason: missed out some words
    The loud wind never reached the ship,
    Yet now the ship moved on !
    Beneath the lightning and the Moon
    The dead men gave a groan.

    They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
    Nor spake, nor moved their eyes ;
    It had been strange, even in a dream,
    To have seen those dead men rise.

  • #2
    Raised beds aren't a necessity, although they are quite trendy at the moment. They're useful if your soil is very poor (which it won't be) or if you can't bend to the ground eg. if you're in a wheelchair or have a bad back.

    You won't be self-sufficient from a small plot (I think an acre is considered to be the minimum size for self-sufficiency?) but you will reduce your food bill a lot if you grow your own, and don't spend too much on seeds, plants and wotnots.

    We are eating salad every day now, which saves us 1 (per bag at the supermarket). I'm veggie so I eat lots of dried beans, all of which I grow myself.
    All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.

    Comment


    • #3
      that is very small, are you sure you haven't been given a half or a quarter plot?

      Comment


      • #4
        If you make a decision not to grow potatoes (they are cheap to buy and take up lots of space) you will have much more room to grow the more expensive veg.
        In a small plot it's important to fill space quite quickly so you'll need to organise yourself to sow successionally into modules (perhaps on the balcony at home?), then as soon as you harvest one crop you can replant the area.
        Also consider catch cropping where you grow a fast maturing plant (eg lettuce, radishes) in between slow plants (eg brussels), you harvest the fast plant before the slower one requires more space.
        Another idea is growing compatible crops together - 'Three Sisters' - is when you grow sweetcorn, squash and beans together. The idea is that they compliment each other (eg beans fertilise the soil, sweetcorn provide support and squash shade ground) and you get more from a single area.

        Comment


        • #5
          And if you really want potatoes (and it would only be for the early spuds because of lack of room) you could always grow those in sacks for those more expensive new spuds early in the year.
          This is surely a good way to start your allotmenteering if you have little experience. Start small get the hang of it without something so large it panics you and put your name down for another plot, either on the same site or look at a different one whilst still working the first.
          You'll get plenty of veg from this plot, you just won't be self sufficient.Your daughter will still learn where her food comes from and will get pleasure in growing it with you.
          The only other thing I would add is that putting in a raised bed could be expensive if you have to buy in the wood, and it will need preserving to make it last. You could look at something like Link-a-Bord which is made from recycled plastic but to be honest it would be an arm and a leg job to buy in enough to cover your plot, even if it is a small one.
          The only other advantage to a raised system, apart from those mentioned by Two Sheds, is that you can grow more intensively in them (ie plant closer together)
          Last edited by Sanjo; 14-05-2010, 07:48 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Congratulations on getting your plot. The main thing is to only grow what you eat, but before you get to that stage the obvious thing is ground clearing. Clear a patch at a time so you can start something off, dont try and clear the whole lot at once, its much more satisfying to see something you have sown / planted grow than to think omg look at the weeds, I'm never going to clear that lot. It doesnt matter if you dont manage to clear it all, or if you dont get to grow everything you want this year. I got my second half plot in February this year and I still havent cleared it all.
            The best bit of advice is enjoy it.
            Happy growing.
            Gardening ..... begins with daybreak
            and ends with backache

            Comment


            • #7
              Congratulations on getting your plot!!

              Have you thought of growing upwards too?
              Climbing beans and squash for eg?
              You'd need to make sure you locate them carefully so they don't cast a shade on the rest of the plot though.

              If you do go with raised beds, 4ft wide is average width for access to weeding- any more and you'll need to step on the bed, which will defeat one of the reasons for having a raised bed.

              Remember though- you do lose precious planting space with every path you make.
              "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

              Comment


              • #8
                Thankyou everyone, we are all very excited about it! Going down tomorrow to make a start on clearing it, after reading alot of similar threads on here we are going to clear a section first, and cover the rest...is this a good idea?

                Two sheds - The only reason we considered raised beds was because of crop rotation, but if we write the plan down of where everything is, should this be a problem?

                Taff - I think we might have you know it is a new plot, I think they give them to new people to prove themselves kind of thing, because when I mentioned a bigger one or a fenced in one, they said they like to see how people do. Same goes for keeping chickens.

                Vicky - I like the idea of 'Three sisters' I am guessing on a small plot it would be ideal?

                Nicos - We do want to grow upwards yes, we will check which way the plot faces tomorrow. So we can work out where to plant shaders.

                Also another question, is there anyone who knows alot about natural pest control? We are really interested in this due to having a mini mischief who loves to eat everything she can

                Tara
                The loud wind never reached the ship,
                Yet now the ship moved on !
                Beneath the lightning and the Moon
                The dead men gave a groan.

                They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
                Nor spake, nor moved their eyes ;
                It had been strange, even in a dream,
                To have seen those dead men rise.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Clear a patch fairly quickly as it's not too late to plant onion sets. shop around and you might be able to get some at a reduced price. Onion sets are onions that have been started off growing by a seed merchant, then stopped while they are still small

                  Get some books from your library, that will give you some ideas and get you used to the jargon. Look for books specifically on allotments or veg growing, as general gardening books tend to concentrate on flowers

                  Raised beds are unecessary, they are just fashionable at the moment. You can just mark out beds on yer actual ground. Don't try to clear everything at once, it's hard work. Do a small area well, then move on to the next one

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Princess Unicorn View Post
                    Going down tomorrow to make a start on clearing it, ...we are going to clear a section first, and cover the rest...is this a good idea?
                    Great idea. You shouldn't do heavy digging for more than about 20-30 mins a day, depending on your fitness. No point killing yourself. Any part you can get covered over will start to rot without any other intervention: you will find it much easier to dig once a few months of darkness has weakened the weeds

                    Originally posted by Princess Unicorn View Post
                    The only reason we considered raised beds was because of crop rotation
                    ???? You can divide your plot for rotation without building beds. Mine is usually divided into quarters (mentally, not physically), for a 4 year rotation.


                    Originally posted by Princess Unicorn View Post
                    I like the idea of 'Three sisters' I am guessing on a small plot it would be ideal?
                    Do have a look through the older threads on 3 sisters: it really doesn't work in this country


                    Originally posted by Princess Unicorn View Post
                    is there anyone who knows alot about natural pest control?
                    Most of us Your eyes & your fingers are the best pest control

                    Originally posted by geoff View Post
                    Raised beds are unecessary, they are just fashionable at the moment.
                    Too true
                    All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We will have 3 men and a lady...possibly 2 tomorrow plus a baby who can't do much but eat things that look interesting

                      The raised beds thing is something I was just thinking about, the crop rotation was mentioned to us by 2 other allotment owners, and started going round in partners head as 'Omg we have a rubbish plot, we will not get anything off of it!' But I have been talking to my mum and working out a plan of action.
                      Like you said Two sheds, we are going to section them off mentally or with string to begin with.

                      I know this may sound like a very newbie thing to say, and I dont blame you if you all laugh at it but I like the way the lady on The Edible Garden has her jungle/garden. Is there any realistic way of recreating that but on allotment scale?

                      Also what is the dislike for raised beds? I am not for them so say, but they do make the plots look 'nice' if thats what you were aiming for I guess. The only up side I see for us is my back but thats not a major issue.

                      Thankyou again!

                      Tara
                      Last edited by Princess Unicorn; 14-05-2010, 06:55 PM.
                      The loud wind never reached the ship,
                      Yet now the ship moved on !
                      Beneath the lightning and the Moon
                      The dead men gave a groan.

                      They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
                      Nor spake, nor moved their eyes ;
                      It had been strange, even in a dream,
                      To have seen those dead men rise.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Snadger does the "pocket gardening" stylee thing. I do it to an extent, in that I have my four main beds (legumes, alliums, roots, brassicas) but I also tend to plunk things in where there happens to be a gap.

                        eg. in my garlic bed I also have chard (self-sown and doing brilliantly, so I won't rip it out just cos it's in the wrong bed), strawberries (cos the garlic is in the fruit bed), coriander (also self-sown) and viola with limnanthes (because I like to mix flowers in amongst my veg as a living mulch and insect attractant)

                        In a nutshell: I have a plan, but nature takes over !
                        Last edited by Two_Sheds; 14-05-2010, 07:02 PM.
                        All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I don't do raised beds but I do edged beds, dug 12 No 10' by 4' ones last year (my first year) and have added some 6' by 4' ones this year, 4 more to dig plus a permanent asparagus bed. I find this size of bed ideal as I can weed or whatever one in a very short period of time and then that's done. I feel that I've done something proper rather than part of a larger bed. The edging helps with demarkation of the bed itself and helps the grass path from creeping into the bed as happened with some of the ones I didn't get round to edging last year. All the beds have paths around them (2 to 3' wide) which enable me to avoid treading on the beds and therefore I can plant much closer together so I don't lose any space overall. This works brilliantly for me but is not right for everybody. For some reason I knew exactly how I wanted mine (can't remember if I'd seen one like it on TV or what now) so measured it up, drew a little plan and marked out with string and pegs. The worked out what I was going to plant in which bed and dug the first one I needed first and planted up. By the end of June all the 12 No original beds were in action and I was a very happy bunny . Just remember there is no totally right or wrong way but if you like it then it's right for you.

                          Some of us live in the past, always talking about back then. Some of us live in the future, always planning what we are going to do. And, then there are those, who neither look behind or ahead, but just enjoy the moment of right now.

                          Which one are you and is it how you want to be?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Alison View Post
                            I don't do raised beds but I do edged beds
                            [smacks hand on forehead] THAT'S what I've got...I knew they weren't quite raised, but I couldn't think what they were.....phew!!!

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