The amazing thing about growing your own fruit and veg is that anyone can have a go. If you’ve had success in your own garden and want to go bigger or you fancy making the most of growing your own but are short of space, the right soil or enough sunshine, an allotment could be the answer.
Allotments have been around for hundreds of years, helping to feed families through good times and bad. There are few things more satisfying then sitting down to a meal that you have not only prepared for yourself but actually grown from scratch. The demand for allotments is generally high due to the increasing trend to embrace a wholesome lifestyle, paired with being more conscientious about how we spend our hard-earned money.
Benefits of allotment gardening
Saving money – growing your own fruit and veg can have a dramatic impact on your weekly shopping bill.
The feel-good factor – spending as little as fifteen extra minutes a day in the fresh air can build up your levels of vitamin D, raising serotonin levels, increasing not only health but happiness too.
Burning calories – 30 minutes of allotment gardening can burn around 150 calories.
Being around like-minded people – socialising is good for the health, and spending time with like-minded people can reward you with a multitude of happy moments.
Encouraging wildlife – otherwise built-up urban areas benefit from the green corridors that allotments create. Just one square metre of land can support hundreds of different species of wildlife.
Getting the kids involved – kids will love to help plant seeds with you and it’s a great way to get them out in the fresh air.
Allotment ideas – essential kit
Although having the right tools for the job is important, starting out on your allotment adventure or mini allotment needn’t break the bank. Your essential starter kit should include:
- Garden ties
- Planters and pots
- Watering can
- Gardening gloves
- A comfy pair of boots
Planning your space is a must when starting an allotment. If you are unsure what to grow, how about taking your inspiration from a meal you are looking forward to digging into?
Things like salad leaves, radishes and spring onions are easy and fast-growing so you’ll see the results of your efforts quickly. Remember to make sure you have a healthy soil base for planting.
To create good planting soil, you’ll need to dig and fork through the soil to loosen any compaction, remove weeds and debris and add some organic matter (compost).
Allotments jobs in May
It’s still near the start of the growing season so lots to look forward to in the allotment. It’s a busy time but exciting too as you start to see the results of all your hard work. You’ll soon be harvesting regularly so think of all those tasty, healthy veggies you’ll be serving up!
Planting and Sowing – now is the time to start thinking about planting your tomatoes, peppers and chillies in their final positions outside. You can plant them in grow bags or pots, as well as straight into the ground. It’s important to do this after the last risk of frost has passed which can vary depending on where you live. Usually, by the middle of May there probably won’t be any more frosts but keep an eye on the weather, just in case. You can also start sowing summer vegetables such as cucumbers and courgettes and more lettuce and beetroot if you want a continuous supply through the summer.
Weeding and pest control – the warmer weather kick-starts those pesky weeds into action but if you do a bit of weeding every time you’re in the garden, you’ll keep on top of them. Check your plants for pests too and if needed treat them before the pests get out of control. Bug sprays and slug pellets are great treatments but you can also encourage wildlife into your garden for a natural pest control solution.
Feeding – some of your vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers and chillies will need regular feeding throughout the growing season. This should be started once the flowers have formed. A good plant food is sure to give you the best crop possible.
Earthing up – earth up around your potatoes by creating a mound of soil around the stem of the potato. Doing this increases the length of the stem underground so that you get more potatoes and it stops them from going green.
Harvesting – harvesting your crop has to be one of the most satisfying of jobs and even in May some of your veggies should be ready. Things like lettuce, cabbage, rhubarb and beetroot can be pulled up and any spaces used for the next crop.
After some more inspiration? Take a look at our What to do in the garden in May blog for some more hints and tips about what you can get up to in the garden this month.
Mini garden allotments
Your allotment size doesn’t have to be big, especially if you haven’t the time to maintain your own allotment. How about setting up a mini allotment in your garden? If you haven’t got the room to dig up a patch of land, you can grow the above veg all in grow bags. Brassicas need a lot of room, so make sure you don’t plant too many in each bag. If you don’t fancy veg then opt for flowers or herbs instead and grow them the easy way in our Clever pot range – perfect if you’ve not got all that much space outdoors. And don’t forget to pretty up your mini garden allotment too with a fresh lick of paint colour and solar lights.
Helpful products for everyday gardening
We love gardening and we also love designing products that help overcome the problems you’ve told us about. Our award-winning Clever Pots range has been specially designed to make gardening tasks a little easier.
A veggie growing mission
So, go on, give it a go, no one starts out a green-fingered genius but with the right tools, hard work and persistence you’ll make your allotment a success before you know it. Allotments are a wonderful thing that will thrive given lots of love and attention.
Interested in having an allotment of your own? Contact your local council to apply for an allotment near you. They’ll either allocate you a plot or in many cases, add your name to the waiting list.
And when you’re ready, find everything you need for your allotment project from our huge gardening section.
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