Really, I feel a bit presumptuous giving others tips. I mean, have you seen my allotment lately? Well, no you haven't, because it's too awful to photograph, and neither have I, for which there is no excuse.
It is rather a case of feast or famine where the allotment is concerned; I'm either up there all the time or not at all. So it was with some trepidation that I dragged the whole family up there yesterday. Yes, there were a few howls of protest but as far as I can see unless 12-year-old boys are eating, on the Playstation or riding their bikes there are always howls, so I ignored them.
While pulling at the weeds and ordering others about I did think "oh, I must remember this for next year" but as my memory is appalling I'm writing it here.
- Tip 1: Plant nasturtiums between rows to suppress weeds. These plants are so easy to grow, look pretty and (best of all) seem to thrive on neglect, which is just as well.
- Tip 2: Butternut squash (and I'm assuming pumpkins) are also easy to grow, are tasty and make a lovely alternative to courgettes, which are also great and prolific but sometimes a bit too prolific.
- Tip 3: Paving slabs are wonderful laid onto bare earth between beds as they don't rot and suppress the weeds wonderfully. I've tried all sorts of paths - bark chippings (messy and expensive) and carpet (great hidey holes for slugs, rots and doesn't suppress weeds) and slabs have been the best. I recycled mine which were no longer needed from our garden but if you had to buy I guess this would be the most expensive option.
- Tip 4: Raised beds are ideal for allotments, allowing you to work your plot in bite sized chunks, reduce digging, and easily improve the soil but (yes, there is a but) they also make superb homes for slugs and snails. The wood also eventually rots and then you have to start again which can make it a bit expensive. I loved my beds but have removed the rotting wood and just kept them as beds, edged with my paving paths. This, I think, is the perfect solution. Well, I hope.