Finally got an allotment

New Allotment – What to do Next

If you have acquired a plot that someone has worked on last year you will probably find the soil in good condition and hopefully ready to start. You may need to dig in some organic matter to enrich the soil, some manure of some sort or compost

Your First Visit to Your New Allotment.
If your new plot is covered in weeds and look neglected, do not despair.
DO NOT  try and dig it all in one session, you will probably strain something and kill your enthusiasm for allotments.

Three simple steps to get started.

  1. Get a weed slasher or grass hook and roughly cut all the weeds down to ground level. – See our cutting and clearing section
  2. Get some weed membrane or heavy duty black plastic sheeting and cover 2/3 of the plot. Anchore the membrane or sheeting down with pegs, staples or bricks.
    The weeds can then die and rot away while you focus on the other 1/3. See our weed control section
  3. Dig over the uncovered 1/3 removing the weeds and digging down to a spade’s depth.
    Double Digging is a great way to loosen up the soil and get nutrients into it. Plants thrive in open structured soils with plenty of nutrients.

Double Digging a New Allotment

Required – a good spade and some well-rotted organic material. Your local horse stables will probably let you have some stable manure, mushroom compost is also good as is chicken litter. You can buy rotted farmyard manure from the local garden centre although this costs a bit more.

1) Dig a trench across the plot, taking each spade of soil to the other end of the bed and leaving it.
You now have an empty trench across the plot, and a pile of soil at the other end.

2) Put some of your organic matter in the bottom of the trench, a layer a few inches thick is ideal.

3) Start digging another trench parallel to the first putting each spade of soil on top of the organic matter in the first trench. You now have a second empty trench and soil covering the first with the organic matter in.

4) Repeat adding the organic matter and covering with soil from a new trench.

5) When you reach the end of the plot the soil from the first trench is used to cover over the last trench + organic matter.

Leave the organic matter to rot down and enrich the soil as long as you can before lightly forking over the soil and raking to get a crumbly soil with small lumps.

The ideal tools for double digging are a good spade and a fork – see our forks and spades sections

This may be hard work so pace yourself based on your ability.
If you feel tired or muscles are starting to hurt – STOP

Good Advice – Best way to eat and elephant – one bite at a time.


Leave A Comment