How I Plan My Allotment
I never thought I'd be the kind of person who had an allotment or honestly grew anything. I completed rejected it when I was younger, but when I move to the village and watched Sue at hers and occasionally helped out, I thought I would give it a go and 3 years on, it is one of the absolute best parts about my life and whilst it is hard work it is a total sanctuary for me.
I also never imagined how obsessed and involved I would get with my allotment. This is spurred on A LOT by the amount of videos I watch on social media of other people's allotments and homesteads and then afterwards thinking about the potential of my own plot and what I can achieve.
Ever since year one, I have always drawn a rough "map" of what I would be planting at my allotment and where it would be going, without honestly much research or consideration as to what to plant where and what does not grow well when planted next to certain things.
This winter, my allotment fire seems to have ignited even more and I spent a LOT of time researching, watching and learning, whilst I couldn't be growing and I have made up my mind that 2022 is going to be my best allotment year yet. This will be my third year of owning an allotment and growing my own food and I want to make the most of it.
So how have I planned my allotment? Well, a lot of things have been taken into consideration when planning my 2022 allotment. The first thing I actually thought about was what I actually WANTED to grow and what would be useful for my family. The last 2 years I have grown what I thought you should grow at the allotment and I am ashamed to think about the amount of FREE food I gave away or infact wasted.
This year I plan on dehydrating, canning and preserving a lot of my produce, so the first thing I actually did was go through my recipe books and work out what I wanted to be able to make in terms of recipes and wrote a list of what ingredients I would need to grow in order to be able to do this. I also made a note of the name of the recipe, what book it came from and what the page number of the recipe was to make it easy for me to make when it comes time to do the preserving. I then added to this list, by considering what fruits and vegetables my family enjoy eating and go through a lot of.
This was how I created the list of what I wanted to grow this year. The next stage of my planning, was probably what took the longest. I went through each item on the list of things I wanted to grow and researched from books and from the internet, what conditions each one of them liked to grow in and what other plants they like and do not like growing next to.
In my allotment book, yes I have a notebook specifically for my allotment and find it very handy, I drew out a pencil diagram of my allotment and started piecing together my plan for where I could plant everything, taking into consideration all the research I had done and also everything I had learnt over the previous 2 years. I did it in pencil so that I could easily make changes when I needed to or I realised something needed to move to a different place. This plan will be my guide for the year but it isn't set in stone and if I want to change the location of something or add something in I will still do this.
The final stage of my plan for this year, and something I have never done before is I made a planting calendar. In the same book, I listed the months of the year and made columns for indoor and outdoor and then went through each one of my seeds and wrote them down into the table which shows when they should be planted and if I should be growing them in my greenhouse or direct planting outside.
This might seem like a lot of work and I suppose it is, it took me a few evenings to complete it all and I have made little changes here and there since. HOWEVER, in the long run, I really feel that this prep time will pay off because I really want to reach the maximum potential of my allotment this year and as I couldn't do anything at my allotment during the winter months, this was a great way of allowing me to still feel like I was being productive.
I am by no means an expert but this is how I like to organise and plan my allotment for the year, but you need to find something that works for you and do it your own way. How do you plan what you are going to grow?