Gardening Magazine

Allotment Style

By Patientgardener @patientgardener

Allotment StyleAs a newbie allotment holder and a complete novice veg grower when I got my plot back in November I fretted for ages over how to lay out the plot.  I consulted books, poured over blogs about allotments trying to get clues as to what I was meant to be doing.  I got really vexed over the right size for a bed.  The whole thing consumed me for weeks.  However, now about 10 months down the line I am struck by the variety of plot styles at the site.  It has become even more apparent with the arrival of plot holders who are having to relocate from another site.

Allotment Style
There seem to be three styles of plot management currently in operation.  First we have the old school approach.  Lots of rows of veg right across the plot.  The plot above is an excellent example of this and when you consider that work didn’t start on this plot until January I am sure you will impressed by the holder’s hard work as I am.  This is one of the neatest and most productive plots on the site.  There is no space lost to paths etc.  The plot holder is typical of the older male generation of plot holders and I have noticed more and more plots adopting this approach as more and more of the experienced plot holders move in.

Allotment Style
Then there is the raised bed brigade and there are many of these.  I decided back in November not to spend money on all the wood that was needed to do raised beds as I wasn’t sure how I was going to take to having an allotment.  I do like the tidiness of the raised beds and I know that the soil heats up better at the start of the year but on the negative side they dry out quicker and I suspect the owner of the plot above had to do a lot of watering this summer.  I’m also not convinced how well raised beds work for crops such as potatoes.  I am adding one or two raised beds to the plot over the winter – one will be for salads and possibly one for root crops which I will then use for Asparagus if I can convince myself to give up a whole bed to it.

Allotment Style
Then there is the more organic approach although the photo above belies the organisation which is behind this plot.  There are paths in there and the plants are planted out in blocks.  I have been admiring this plot for months.  It also is hugely productive and always neat but it is very striking how far removed it is from the serried ranks of veg in the traditional plot.

So how does my plot fit into these styles.  Well I think it takes a bit from each of them really, as you can see from the photo above.  I have a very tidy and organised mind so the traditional neatness appeals to me but at the same time, just as box hedging does, the straight lines leave me feeling a little cold.  I like the bountiful abundance and jolliness of the bottom plot and I hope my plot looks so plentiful  this time next year.  I like the layout of the raised bed plot and as you can see from the photo at the top my plot is laid out in beds which can, in the future, be adapted to raised beds should I choose to.  I think this is going to work for me as my brain can cope with one bed at a time so when the onions have finished I can follow them with spring cabbage and then courgettes etc.  I can cope with crop rotation like that well I think I can but I wonder what I will be saying this time next year.

 


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