For the past few weeks I’ve been planning my allotment, from deciding what plants to grow to what type of beds to use, I’ve been having great fun planning. I’m beginning to think it’s one of the most fun aspects of gardening, there’s no back-breaking digging, no dirt permanently lodged under my fingernails, no nettle stings (though these would almost be welcome, nettles are packed full of lovely nitrogen for the soil) and no heartbreak over failed crops. I’ve made lists, drawn out plan after plan, I’ve even made a spreadsheet for the year with sowing and harvesting times for each plant and I have quickly come to realise that I have far too much spare time. I’ve spent hours reading books on gardening and trawling the internet for tips. I promised you I’d put up my little 3D sketch of my plan up for your amusement. Try not to laugh too much, as I said, I’ve far too much time on my hands. I’m pretty sure the plot will turn out nothing at all like it.
I hope to implement raised beds on my plot, I like the idea of a no-dig system as it is best for your soil. It may take a while to establish these and in my first year, I’ll probably have one or two raised beds with a view to adding more as I can. Whether you decide on a raised bed system or not, try to keep your bed width at 42 inches or less, they can be any length but this is the ideal width for a bed as it makes it easy to reach the centre of the bed, any wider and it becomes very difficult to reach the crops in the centre.
After much deliberation, I’ve finally settled on what to grow this year, I’m going to follow a four year crop rotation plan. I’ve decided to grow food I know I will eat, I don’t see the point in growing cauliflower, cabbage, sprouts or turnips as I would rather eat a smelly old shoe. In place of these in my brassica bed I will grow pak choi, chard, wild rocket and spinach as these are far more suited to my eating habits. I will of course be growing potatoes as I’m Irish and it’s practically criminal not to grow them. I also plan on growing carrots, beetroot, pumpkins, onions, peas, beans, courgettes, radishes and scallions.
In addition to the four main beds, I’ll be growing some perennials, rhubarb, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes and florence fennel. I’ll also be growing some pollinating flowers for our bees and butterflies, these should also add a nice splash of colour to the plot during the summer months. I’ll be growing tomatoes and peppers also, but I’m going to grow them in containers so I can keep them indoors when they need it. I have other plants I would love to grow but I’ll see how I get on with all these to start me off. I don’t want to overdo it to the point of it becoming too much hardwork and my hobby turning itself into a chore.
In addition to planning my plot, I have also been buying a lot of bits and bobs to use in the garden. I wrote a blog post a few days ago about cheap gardening supplies with some tips on finding bargains. I mentioned that I had bought redcurrant and blackcurrant plants.
These, however, have begun to sprout and with two weeks to go until I can plant them on the plot, I have no idea whether or not I should plant them into pots for now until I can plant them out or leave them as they are. If anyone has any ideas what I should do, please leave a comment below, any advice would be very much appreciated.
In other news, the opening date for the allotment site was pushed back by a few days until the 10th of March, which I don’t mind at all, as that just happens to be my birthday and it looks like I will be spending my birthday on my brand new allotment, what a great birthday pressie!