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Home Allotment Tips and Ideas

It can be very satisfying to grow your own fruit and vegetables at home.

Whether you’re thinking of having your first allotment or have had one in the past and are about to start digging one out in your new garden, this guide should give you plenty of food for thought.

Find out the basics

What works in one garden might not work in another so it’s important to find out which way your garden faces and pH of your soil.

The easiest way to find out which way your garden faces is to stand with your back against your home’s wall with a compass.

If the compass is pointing to the north, then you have a north facing garden, if it points to the south, then you have a south facing garden.

In an ideal world, you’d like your soil to have a pH of 6.5. To find out what it is, you can buy a pH testing kit from your local garden centre or online.

pH means how acid or alkaline a soil is and the pH scale measures how much calcium is in your soil. Most vegetables grow best in soil that is slightly acidic, although potatoes can cope with soil with a pH of 5.

If your soil’s pH is on the low side, you can add calcified seaweed to move it up the scale.

Choose the right fruit and vegetables

If your allotment will be in a shady part of your garden, there is little point planting aubergines or tomato plants as they need the sun.

Instead, consider growing leafy vegetables such as lettuce, kale, spinach and peas

Some herbs such as chives, lemon balm and mint can survive in gloomy conditions, but others such as oregano would struggle.

If you decide to grow mint then be sure to plant it in a pot otherwise it will soon takeover your whole patch.

In partial shade, some varieties of strawberries can cope, as can blackcurrants and blackberries but they won’t taste as sweet as they would had they been grown in a sunny spot.

If you have a south facing garden and your allotment can enjoy all day sunshine, you have lots more options when it comes to planting.

You can take your pick from tomatoes, radishes, potatoes, courgettes, cucumbers, peppers… the list goes on and on.


To get the most from your home allotment, divide it into three sections and rotate the crops each year.

Give your soil a boost by adding organic matter.

Try to only grow what you need, otherwise, you could end up with too much and it could go to waste. Lettuce leaves, for instance, need to be eaten fresh.

Consider containers and pots

As well as having a traditional veg patch, you could have some containers and pots on your patio area.

Rather than using canes, let gravity do the work – hanging baskets can be a place for vine plants to thrive and grow up high.

If you have a deep barrel container you could even grow potatoes!

Protect your vegetables

While there are pesticides available to protect your plants from pests, many are striving to keep their gardens organic.

One of the best ways towards an organic garden is to grow plants in your garden that attract bees, ladybirds and frogs. These eat the pests that would happily munch through your whole vegetable patch if you let them.

Lavender, mint, rosemary and basil also have natural pest repellent qualities, so are good options for your garden and your larder.

Think about your watering

It can be helpful to have a water butt in your garden or an outside tap, so you don’t have to keep traipsing in and out of your home to fill up your watering can.

A good soak every few days is better than a light watering every day, which is worth bearing in mind, especially if you don’t have much time to spend on your allotment.

Keep things separated

You could use reclaimed railway sleepers to give you raised beds for your allotment or consider a small fence to keep the allotment separate from the rest of your garden.

You won’t want any pets getting up to mischief around your lettuces or young children pulling things up before they’re ready.

Growing your own vegetables and fruit can be lots of fun for your whole family, and everyone will enjoy eating what you’ve grown. For more advice, check out the RHS website .

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