Gardening Magazine

A Simple Plan for Our New Allotment Plot – Part 1

By Charlottsgarden @charlottsgarden

A Simple Plan for Our New Allotment Plot – Part 1

Late last year we were lucky enough to take over one of the plots neighbouring our first allotment site. We now have a total growing space of 10 m x 30 m overlooking Dartmoor which, apart from the strong winds that have been known to blow over sheds, is amazing.

When we first got the plot we were dreaming of one day buying a poly tunnel and extending our growing season to all year round, non stop vegetable production. How exciting that would be, but is was time to face reality, roll up our sleeves and prepare our new plot.

A Simple Plan for Our New Allotment Plot – Part 1

The first year of having a plot is more often than not really hard work, endless weeding, deciding on your layout and building raised beds etc. We decided to use this opportunity to experiment and find a easy and relatively time efficient way to get our plot weed free as well as getting a decent harvest in our first year.

We rent our plots from the local farm which also supplies us with free farm yard manure. You can say that the manure inspired our first year allotment plot plan - a whole plot dedicated to pumpkins and squashes!

All we needed to do to make this happen was:

  • Remove any large weeds
  • Apply a thick layer of farmyard manure
  • Cover with black plastic sheeting, this will suppress the weeds and help warm the soil in Spring.
  • Sit back and don't do all that much until Spring....

It really only took us a couple of days, something you could easily dedicate a weekend to if you fancy a pumpkin filled plot.

A Simple Plan for Our New Allotment Plot – Part 1

Now that the days and temperatures are slowly but surely increasing it was time to sow the pumpkin and squash seeds I purchased in the Autumn. I got these from one of my favorite seed suppliers the Organic Gardening Catalogue.

  • Squash Moschata Muscade - A fleshy pumpkin with a slight taste of nutmeg, good for sweet as well as savoury dishes
  • Squash Sweet Lightning - Small dumpling style fruits, 12-15cm across, 500g-750g in weight. Just the right size for an individual meal, these can be microwaved whole. Delicious flavour.
  • Squash Marina di Chioggia - Medium sized, flattened globe fruits with very knobbly grey-green skin. Superb flavoured yellow-orange flesh which improves with age. Stores well.
  • Squash Blue Ballet - Blue-grey, teardrop shape fruits with sweet, orange flesh.2 or 3 fruits weighing Keeps well.
  • Pumpkin Jack be Little - Only 8 cm across when fully grown. Delicious when baked and perfect for stuffing.
  • Pumpkin Spaghetti - A vigorous trailing plant which is easily grown and cooked. When the flesh is cooked, it breaks into strands like spaghetti.

This is how I sow Cucurbit Seeds..

  • Cucurbits are not great fans of root disturbance when planting out so their seeds are best sown in any sort of degradable pot. I tend to make paper plant pots using old news paper.
  • Choose are warm and light location ideally a greenhouse, we don't have one so I put them on our potting table by a south-facing window in our annex.
  • To encourage a strong root system fill your pots only half way and sow the seeds on their side. Once the plant has reached the top of the pot you can fill up the other half of the pot with compost.
A Simple Plan for Our New Allotment Plot – Part 1

Watch this space for Part 2 of the Cucurbit growing bonanza coming soon....

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