Thinking About the Plot and How We’re Going to Use It

Now that we have a full-sized allotment, what next?

We’ve suddenly gone from having a quarter of an allotment to having a whole one that covers 135 square metres. The size of it isn’t daunting, but we have the sudden realisation that we want/need to fill it with vegetables, flowers and other crops.

So the planning we did for the quarter section now goes out the window and flying in comes new plans for the whole plot.

It’s like moving into a new house – you only get to know the house when you start using the rooms and facilities. After a while you spot the creaky floorboard on the landing and which rooms get sunlight in the afternoon.

It’s the same with an allotment.

Obviously it’s easy to see the site as a whole, but you only really get to know everywhere when you start moving around the area and start do stuff.

For the first year of having a full-sized allotment, we’ve decided to take it easy so we can get used to it. There are no massive plans to plant tons of different vegetables and flowers. Instead, we’re planning on getting the site usable for ourselves and experimenting with a few different plants to see how well, or not, they grow.

The allotment plot as it is now

As you can see from the photo above, the plot is quite bare right now. The bottom section of the picture contains a bed of yellow lilies which look amazing in full bloom, but they don’t last long. And because they take up a fair amount of space, we’re considering taking them out.

It’s a tough decision and one we won’t make lightly.

As you look up the right hand side of the photo, there are three beds divided by two lines of bricks, a grassy area towards the top and a couple of compost bins. Behind the compost bin, there’s a blue barrel for gathering rainwater (hidden in the picture above but you can see it in the one below).

If you follow the fence, you’ll notice a couple of plants almost in line with the blue barrel you can see on the next plot. These plants are comfrey and a fern. We’re leaving them in for now as well.

The biggest issue with the beds on the right is compaction. They haven’t been dug over for many years so I don’t know how easy it is for new plants to set roots. We will be mostly following the no dig approach, but we might have to dig first to loosen up the soil to make it plantable.

On the left hand side of the plot, up to the blue water barrel, you can see our four original beds from last year. The soil in those beds was highly compacted too. But we’ve added manure and compost to try to improve it.

Running perpendicular to the beds is a section full of strawberries. This runs from the corner of the plot up to the blue water barrel.

We’ve used unwanted gravel boards and bricks to create paths.

After the blue barrel, there’s a narrow section that’s prone to flooding, and beyond that, the original plot owner’s strawberry patch, another grassy area and quite a large area of fruit bushes.

We don’t know what to do with any of these sections just yet.

Our initial thoughts are:

  • Flooded area – create a small wildlife pond.
  • Strawberry patch – we have our own which contains healthier plants so we’ll probably re-purpose this area.
  • Grassy area – leave to go wild or sow with wildflower seeds.
  • Fruit bushes – we want to add a greenhouse and maybe a shed, so this is looking like the best location at the moment.

For the time being, we’re not making any massive alterations to the plot. Just thinking about what works, what doesn’t and how we need to change things to make the allotment ours.

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