Your fellow plot holders, especially those who have been cultivating their plots for a while, will be more than willing to give you advice on their experience of growing produce on the OTHAS site and will often share seed and tubers. There are a diversity of plots with different growing techniques and plants, see what others are doing and what grows well.
Planning your allotment plot
Deciding what you are going to grow, how and when to plant are essential if you are going to get the best out of your plot. There are plenty of books and advice is always available from your fellow plot holders.
The National Allotment Society has a good guide, The Allotment Book by Andi Cleverly and the Allotment Handbook by the RHS are recommended.
Watering is most effective in early morning or evenings, to avoid the sun burning off your efforts. Mornings are better to avoid encouraging slug and snail snacking overnight, though more inconvenient for the working person!
- Water at the roots of the plant, not higher up on leaves and stems. And avoid watering the surrounding soil, as this will only encourage weed growth.
- Water only once a week, twice at a push – but do it thoroughly. Thorough watering will encourage the roots to seek water deeper down, rather than staying near the surface, which is the outcome of light, frequent watering.
- Recently planted seedlings will need a little more help, but still not daily.
- Create a ridge around your plants, or plant them in a recess, so that the water will concentrate where it is needed, rather than running off.
- A layer of mulch, applied after a thorough watering ensures that water does not evaporate and retains moisture.
- If you’ve dug over an area but aren’t ready to plant into it yet, cover it with landscape fabric, tarpaulin or similar, to stop it from drying out. If it’s going to be bare for a while, consider growing a green manure.
The RHS advises 24 litres per square metre (5.2 gallons per 10 square foot) every 7-10 days for densely planted areas. They also have more useful advice: https://www.rhs.org.uk/Advice/profile?PID=706 and https://www.rhs.org.uk/Advice/Profile?pid=766
Please remember that you must use watering cans, hoses are not allowed.
On-line resources are available from How to Compost. The Henry Doubleday Research Association, now known as Garden Organic) and the Soil Association also have good advice. There is also a useful leaflet Composting, Bonfires and Waste