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Growing Tips and Ideas

New plot? Don't panic! Here are our top tips on getting started

A new plot may be very daunting, but start small and build up with these top tips from fellow plot holders..


Start by designating an area of your plot for compost. You can start with a rough heap and then enclose it later.


Remove any undergrowth, brambles, tall weeds, etc and place by the bonfire area near the lower gate. Any compostable items should be kept on your plot and added to your heap.


Clear all the remaining growth using  a strimmer cutting the grass and weeds very short. F.L.A.G. members can borrow a range of tools including strimmers from the tool shed. More details here.


Start digging and removing weeds. Put all your weeds on your compost heap but remember that some weeds will return if not fully rotted (e.g. couch grass, dandelion roots). Work on a small patch at a time depending upon the time of year and current weather. Keep that area clear and productive and it will grow in size, slowly but surely.


Cover the rest of your plot with either flattened, heavy duty cardboard or heavy duty weed control fabric. Do not use old carpets. Rotting carpet creates environmental problems, leaving chemical residues in the soil and becomes very difficult to dispose of once waterlogged.


Beware of allowing grass paths between planting areas; when even a little overgrown they make easy cover for slug raiding parties! Couch grass will also creep back in. Use the woodchip  (over a membrane if you prefer) available by the communal compost area.

Raised beds can be great for a no dig approach but are not trouble free. It is essential the area is COMPLETELY free of perennial weeds - especially couch grass - or your task will be harder.

Compost- try to keep as much of your waste on your plot as possible and build a compost heap. Using four pallets, with the base open to the ground, your site waste will start rotting down nicely to create a rich compost for you to use. There are often spare pallets left on-site near the garage end gate. Builders' bags make excellent compost containers. The bags will fit inside your pallet structure. Cut a large hole in the base so that worms can get in.

You should be able to spread your first compost after about one year.

Further Reading


  1. RHS Allotment Handbook and Planner.

  2. Grow your own Veg by Carol Klein.

  3. The series of "Expert" books by Dr D. G. Hessayon are excellent find but maybe hard to find still in print.

For all you need to know about the Folly Lane allotment site, read our Folly Field Guide.

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