If you’ve ever consumed organic vegetables and fruits, you’ve realised that there’s nothing that’ll ever be tastier or healthier. However, while sourcing organic fruits and vegetables from your local shop is convenient, nothing is more satisfying than growing your batch. Plus, it’s easier than you may imagine!
It all boils down to getting some land, being patient, and dedicating some of your time. If you don’t have enough land, a small allotment is still perfect for developing your passion. Read on to get some ideas on how you’d go about creating your small but stunning masterpiece.
Plan Your Allotment Appropriately
You’re probably excited about planting some fruits and vegetables in your new plot, which could cause you to cut short on planning. You must make a plan and commit it to paper before digging your plot of land. You’ll have to consider various factors like the wind direction, angle and amount of sunlight that hits your plot, type of soil, and access pathways.
You’ll also need to acquire top-quality gardening tools like a spade, fork, gloves, a wheelbarrow, and enough storage. Wild allotments signal that your land is fertile; however, you’ll have to wait for some rainfall to dampen the soil before digging. You may feel overwhelmed by all this information, but you’ll need to remember that it’s a step-by-step process.
Tip: Speak to more experienced allotmenteers to get advice on what may or may not work. This will save you time and misplaced effort. You’ll also have a friend that’ll orient you through your first year of allotment.
Keep a stock of perennials
Perennials are the perfect plants for allotment beginners. Perennial means through the years. This group’s plants and fruits typically live for two years and regrow from the rootstock each spring. The plants include strawberries, tomatoes, basil, garlic, and blueberries. The plants will reduce the hustle associated with replanting your fruits and vegetables.
Tip: Perennials grow heartily, which can desolate nutrients in the soil. You can improve its quality by applying well-rotted manure or compost before planting. You shouldn’t remove any dead foliage in the winter. The foliage will attract small insects that readily infuse nutrients into the soil.
Improve the soil
If you are starting and don’t have any compost, you can purchase some bags from the store or strawberry and mushroom farmers. You could also get some manure from the stables and keep it until it’s well rotted before using it. You can collect it in advance and store it for up to six months while planning what to plant.
Caution: Don’t use the manure too early since it may have pathogens, seeds, or weeds that harm your crops.
Companion planting can help make the most out of your allotment and ensure that you have high-quality produce. Some complimentary plants forge a mutual and beneficial bond that helps repel pests, provide pests, and improve pollination.
Leafy greens like kale and spinach grow well when overshadowed by corn. It would help if you planted legumes (climbers) together with corn. The legumes help convert Nitrogen in the air to Nitrates that corn uses, while corn supports legumes as they grow.
Radishes, lettuces, and other fast-growing plants should be sown between hills of squash or melons. They’ll mature and get harvested way before the vines need more room.
Tip: You shouldn’t grow plants in the same family close together. Such plants become highly competitive for nutrients, which makes them experience poor growth. For instance, you should plant chives, onions, garlic, and leeks across your plot instead of planting them close together.
Consider the weather
Sometimes, the weather can be unpredictable, rainy, sunny, or frosty. Such weather affects your plant’s germination or growth. Your plants may even die when exposed to the extremes of such weather conditions. You could counter this by using a greenhouse, which helps you avoid problems that come with extreme seasonal changes and weather conditions.
Such changes will not seriously affect your gardening efforts. It will help you become flexible, especially relating to complementary gardening.
Tip: You could add a gas or electric heater together with overhead lighting (in your greenhouse) to extend the growing period of warm-season plants for a better yield.
Use beneficial herbs
You can plant herbs with scented leaves throughout your plot to repel insects. For instance, you can use sage to repel cabbage moths, while French Marigolds are perfect when grown with tomatoes since their strong scents repel aphids. They also look quite pretty.
Using herbs has lots of benefits that extend beyond protection. Other herbs help enhance adjacent plants’ flavour. For instance, growing basil beside lettuce and tomatoes helps enhance each plant’s flavour.
Tip: You can grow wormwood, a herb you can boil to make a tea that you pour onto plants which helps repel slugs.
Make access points
You should make some access points around your plot to help you reach various sections where you have different plants. For instance, you shouldn’t have to walk over your cabbage patch to gain access to sections of your plot where you’ve planted carrots.
Doing this risks destroying the plants or spreading infections to other plants. Instead, make small but accessible pathways that can be used to monitor your plant’s growth. Ensure that you wear disinfected footwear when accessing such pathways.
Learn, improve, and repeat
You should make some notes, keep records, and make changes where possible. Learning constantly and applying positive changes helps improve the amount and quality of the product you get from your allotment.
Write down what works and what doesn’t to help avoid any issues that could affect your plants. However, you should take it steady and remember that learning and gaining experience when planting takes some time.
If you are a beginner, you should research allotments and find more ideas to help you grow healthy fruits and vegetables in abundance. Seek help from other people who are more experienced and get creative. Ensure that you water them adequately and weed them regularly. Have fun planting!