Your New Allotment – Preparing and Planning
Whether you are new to gardening on an allotment or have years of experience, Madingley Mulch have all the allotment supplies you will need in and around Cambridge. When starting your own allotment, whether you have taken on a new plot or are taking one over, you will need to prepare for the coming seasons.
Your new plot will require planning, decision-making and lots of hard work. Here are just some of the essentials you will need to consider to make a success of your new growing space.
Before you commit to a whole allotment it may be worth considering if you can cope with this much land. If you are a beginner it may be a good idea to assign yourself to half a plot. There is plenty of room in half a plot – which will give you ample space to grow a combination of fruit, vegetables and flowers.
Another way of finding out what will grow in your area is to ask other allotment users what they grow. This is a very good place to start when planning your own crops. Gardeners are always happy to share their experiences and knowledge, and will often provide you with lots of tips and hints as to getting the best out of your plot.
For many people, deciding what to plant and where to plant it are decisions that need a lot of forethought. However, before you do this it is recommended to check your soil type, with a simple ph tester kit, and then prepare the soil for growing your produce.
Preparing the Ground
If you think that a half plot is still too large, you can add plastic sheeting to some parts of the allotment. This will stop weeds being able to grow and keep the ground from drying out. For most allotment users, weeds are an issue, so remove all the weeds from the part of the ground you are going to use, and add a weed killer if necessary.
Speak to Madingley Mulch about the best type of product to use that will not affect your plants in the future. We are happy to advise and we also provide the whole range of allotment supplies, delivering in the Cambridge area. For the part of the plot where you are going to start growing produce, it is a great idea to begin by adding a good compost to your soil, as this adds essential nutrients before you begin growing your plants. Using soil conditioners will also ensure the ground is ready for planting.
It’s possible to grow produce which will provide a harvest all year round. The parts of the plot you have covered with plastic sheeting can be used later in the season, or can be saved until after winter to plant potatoes. For the ground under the plastic sheet prepare the soil as before.
You can grow a host of vegetables, if you sow and plant at different times of the year, such as planting garlic in autumn for a summer crop. The same can be done for growing flowers –buy plants or sow seeds that will flower at different times of the year. Annuals normally grow during summer so need to be sown in spring. For winter interest, you can plant perennials and evergreens to enjoy bright blooms all year round too. It is important to read the instructions on all plants purchased and seeds sown, to make sure they are planted at the correct time of year.
Once your allotment has become established, add a mulch around your new plants, being careful not to put the mulch on the stems as this can weaken them. A mulch is ideal for suppressing weeds, and will also protect the surface of your soil from the elements. In summer, it helps to retain moisture in the ground and during winter it will keep the roots of your plants warm. Organic mulch helps the texture and fertility of the soil and will decompose naturally.
Benefits of Growing Your Own
Some of the great benefits of having an allotment are that you will keep fit, burning loads of calories while digging, sowing and planting. You will get the chance to meet new people, who will be happy to help you with your allotment. A regular supply of garden-fresh fruit and vegetables all year round and bright blooms for the home will be in abundance. If you live in an apartment or flat, an allotment is the ideal way to have some outdoor space for a very nominal charge.
For more advice on your new allotment, or any other garden supplies, contact Madingley Mulch, who will be happy to help. Based in Cambridge, we serve customers from a wide surrounding area including Hertfordshire, Essex, Bedfordshire and Suffolk, who are welcome to visit our garden and DIY shop. We also deliver regularly to many towns and villages in the Cambridge area, including Ely, Newmarket, Fenstanton and Kings Ripton.
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