My allotment is 285 square metres and I have a chicken run, a greenhouse, a shed and a cloche/small chicken run. The system I use to grow food is a no dig system whereby I lay compost onto strimmed soil to make beds. These beds are around 4 yards long by around fifteen to eighteen inches wide. I can also make a bed up from six growing sacks placed on the surface of the soil. I estimate I have 24 beds to plan for the coming season.
It is a very good idea to choose food that you will actually cook and eat as opposed to food that sounds nice or appeals to your sense of the exotic. For example, last season, I grew scorzonera (black salsify) which is a black root vegetable described as tasting like asparagus. I found that the scorzonera I grew was tasteless and hard to prepare. I won’t be growing it again. Likewise, sweetcorn. When space is at a premium, growing something that you eat every now and again isn’t wise. At harvest time, I was left with a large glut of corn cobs most of which were fed to the chickens.
So, I have devised the following plan for the 2019 season based largely on food I actually ate in 2018…
Onions (sets, including shallots) – 3 rows
Carrots (seeds planted into sacks. Chantenay and early Nantes) – 2 rows
Cabbage (spring and autumn) – 2 rows
Kale (Nero di Toscana) – 1 row
Calabrese – 3 rows
Potatoes (early, new types planted in sacks) – 3 rows
Courgette – 1 row
Beans (bush type) – 4 rows
Squash (Crown Prince) – 1 row
Peas (Kelvedon Wonder self supporting and mange tout type) – 3 rows
Lettuce (Little Gem) – 1 row
In addition, I’ll grow salad leaves, peppers and strawberries in the greenhouse and I’m hoping to clear a space for my polytunnel so that I can grow a few tomatoes and maybe cucumbers.
I’ve already planted two rows of onions, one row of potatoes, two rows of peas and a row of carrots.