Help, we're new at this game

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Help, we're new at this game
« on: May 06, 2012, 23:35 »
We have just bought an allotment which is in a field basically, there are quite a few of us which are just starting up, but obviously some follk have more knowledge. Im one of those with little but is willing to learn. Our plot is about 20ft by 50ft, we have dug it all over and got rid of most of the weeds, we have manure on site for us all, but im unsure as what can be planted with what as l know there are lots of families of vegetables. We have grown runner beans from seed, and we have planted 3 types of potatoes, but we also have cabbage, sprouts, leeks, onions and lots of types of lettuce all grown from seed too! Any advice would be welcome, because i feel like l could feed the 5000 with what we have ha!



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Re: Help, we're new at this game
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2012, 06:02 »
When working out quantities that you need, have a think about your food shop - for example, would you buy 100+ lettuces in a week?   Unlikely but if you sowed an entire packet of lettuce seeds, that will probably happen when they all mature and start to go to seed together.  So things like lettuce you need to sow just a few seeds every couple of weeks from now until about July.  Same goes for carrots and radish.  These sort of vegetables have shorter growing seasons so no need to sow lots in one go.

Longer growing stuff (so you need to plan ahead and cannot sow every few weeks), or for cropping in autumn and winter when growth slows down so less likely to go to seed, then again think about your typical shopping - maybe you buy half a dozen parsnips a week, so over winter you might get through 50 or much more parsnips.  You have to allow for mishaps, pests and variability of crop (some may not grow very much and be disappointingly smaller than shop bought, on the other hand they may do better - occassionally I haul out a single giant parsnip that could feed a family  ::))

It takes a little experience to get it right and even then the weather can play havoc leaving you wondering whether it'll be a glut or "famine" when it comes to harvesting.  By growing different varieties you can be sure of getting a crop though - where cold & wet weather affects summer crops such as sweetcorn, you might get a fantastic cabbage crop.  It's all a bit of a learning curve.  Not only that, but you may find that something you used to eat occassionally from shop bought tastes so wonderful home grown that next time you'll want to grow a lot more.  And then you'll come across vegetables you've never heard of or seen in the supermarkets - supermarkets generally select vegetables and varieties that suit their shelves (not all vegetables can withstand a long shelf life or transit so may have a high wastage - something the home grower is likely to tolerate  ;))

Enjoy your new plot and happy gardening  :D



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Re: Help, we're new at this game
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2012, 18:25 »
Welcome to the site  :D

It will help us to answer your questions if we know whereabouts in the country you are - could you add your general location to your forum profile, please?  Click your username to get started on that.

The basic families for crop rotation are: beans (inc peas), brassicas (caulis, cabbage, sprouts etc), alliums (onions, leeks, garlic), spuds (inc tomatoes) and roots (inc carrots, parsnips).

Depending on what you're growing and how much of each, you can rotate the groups over several years.  The main aim is not to grow the same thing in the same place every year, so you don't get a build-up of pests & diseases or lack of nutrients.

Have a look at the Allotment Advice section of the main website
I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days all attack me at once...



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Re: Help, we're new at this game
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2012, 09:43 »
I think its mostly been said However I would aim for Your soil to become "self sufficiant" so as you take crops off the soil this will take away all sorts of nutriants this should be replaced with home made compost made from any non cooked waste, leaves, grass clippings.whilst there may be animal manure on site I am convinced this is a major cause of weeds on plots as many weed seeds are designed to pass thro  an animals gut and often lie dorment till some kind person digs them in  ;) so get as much other compost as you can make
This is the first age that has ever paid much attention to the future which is ironic since we may not have one !(Arthur c Clarke)

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