Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Making Your Allotment Shine All Year Round

Now that the New Year is finally upon us, millions of us up and down the country are scrambling around, looking for a New Year’s resolution. One area that you should immediately look to for this resolution is your allotment. Here is a guide to how you can make sure you use your resolution to make your allotment usable all year round.

De-Weeding To Aid Growth

Your allotment needs continuous hoeing and de-weeding to stay in prime condition. Although going out to de-weed in the depths of winter may not sound like an appealing idea, it is one that’s entirely essential. To help aid the process and make it less laborious in the future, you should consider planting potatoes, pumpkins or courgettes as they actually smother weeds and hinder their growth.

On the other hand, you’ll need to make sure that small items such as carrots or peas are away from areas with weeds, because they cast little shadow and are vulnerable to being smothered by weeds. Items like these should instead be grown in beds with plants as this will make the de-weeding process far simpler.

Surviving the Depths of Winter

Once you’ve got the layout of your allotment sorted and started de-weeding, you’ll have to consider how your allotment will cope in the depths of winter. Some soil types (especially ones that are clay based) can be very hard to work during the winter months, and waterlogged soil will lead to poor growth. To solve these problems you can:
  • Plant raised flower beds to enhance the drainage options
  • Consider time. If you’re short, plant pears, peas and carrots that will give a heavy yield when they are sown late.
  •  Banish slugs by using replants. Slugs are everywhere in the wet season and it is vitally important that you deter them as best as possible if you want a good crop growth. 

Surviving the Drought of Summer

Winter and the wet months, however, are not the only struggle that you will have. Despite being a popular time for gardening, the summer months can also prove tricky, with constant maintenance required. If it is exceptionally dry, clay based soils will work in your favour here, but sand based soils will dry out incredibly quickly. Remember that you may have restrictions on water use, so plan for every eventuality.
To avoid a struggle, you need to plan accordingly. Have a look at long range weather forecasts before deciding what to plant. Leafy salads and runner beans will suffer on dry soils, so if it is going to be dry, choose more tolerant plants like squash or pumpkins.

Finally, to make sure that your allotment is usable all year round, make sure that you have all the equipment immediately available at your disposal. A shed from somewhere like Sheds and Things is a lifesaver for an allotment that’s in use 365 days a year. Make sure you’re properly prepared. 

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