Hoole Allotments and Gardens 

Everyone seems to be talking about 'raised beds' - should I have those? -They are an option but by no means a necessity.  To have a plot full of raised beds you need to make an outlay in the surrounding material (timber usually).  You also need to fill the beds with more compost to make them 'raised'.  Advantages quoted are that soil warms up quicker in spring and you can adopt the 'no-dig' system. No dig though, means adding copious amounts of mulch/organic matter every season to the bed. If you do go for a plot divided up into several raised beds, you need to think about management of the pathways.  Could you keep the grass down easily between the beds?   Also, how much growing space are you actually losing by dividing up the plot like this?  People sometimes confuse raised beds with 'edged' beds. Edging a bed, with say, scaffolding planks can make the plot seem easier to manage and neater.  However they may end up more of a hassle in the long run and do you really need to be so neat and uniform on an allotment plot?Lastly, if you don't keep one step ahead of the weeds, they WILL take over, raised beds or no raised beds!

I'm so excited at growing loads of stuff I'm going to order loads of seeds!  - Go steady!  You'll probably end up with far too many unopened packets a couple of years down the line.   Sod's law sayeth that enough ground will never be ready in time, the window of opportunity for said seeds will be missed,  there won't be enough windowsill space to bring them on after first half packet and if sown direct, snails and slugs will munch on the first sproutings.   Take it slowly!  Good crops to grow when starting out and getting the hang are potatoes (you'll get some sort of crop even with neglect) and large plants that shade out weed competition like courgettes.  It may make more sense to buy small plants or plugs than to grow from seed initially.

Community Web Kit provided free by BT