So you've secured your garden plot, that's the easy part out of the way. Now it's time for the hard work to begin.
Luckily as we head into mid-march there are many things you can be doing around the garden to prepare for next year and begin reaping the rewards of growing your own. We've put together a simple guide to getting up and running and ensuring your garden plot is as productive as possible.
Readying your garden plot for cultivation can be daunting
As all of the plots on the Wharfside Community Gardens site are uncultivated and clear of vegetation, there is no need to spend time clearing your plot. We recommend that by the end of March you;
Formulate a garden plan, outlining what you want to grow and how much space you intend to dedicate to each fruit or vegetable.
Mark out your internal footpaths, remembering that they should be comprised of bark or woodchip only.
Install your raised growing beds or break up the soil in your intended growing areas.
Integrate organic matter into your growing beds, such as manure or topsoil.
Outfit your plot with a compost bin, water butt or other accoutrement necessary for the growing of fruit and veg.
Spend some time to get to know your fellow Plotholders and join the Wharfside Forum.
And of course, don't forget to set aside a small area to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labour...
What to plant in March
March is generally a busy month on community garden and allotment sites. In milder climates with light sandy soils such as ours, the following can be planted outdoor from seed;
Sweet pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, aubergine and artichoke seeds can also be sown indoors.
Ideally your growing plot will be located in a south facing sunny position, however this is not always possible. Not to worry though, shadier spots can still be very productive where the correct shade tolerant fruits and vegetables are cultivated.
Kale, chard, beetroot and lettuce are all shade tolerant vegetables and will thrive in less sunny spots. Rhubarb, raspberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants will also produce a reasonable yield on these plots.
Pest control can be a thorny subject, especially given our proximity to an internationally important site of scientific interest. For this reason we ask Plotholders not to use chemical weed and pest control, especially those bounding the SSSI.
Low impact, organic pest control is not only beneficial to the environment but also to the food you produce. For example the application of mulch or UV barriers to prevent weed growth is far more advantageous than the use of chemical and Glyphosate weed killers which have been linked to cancer and birth defects in the US and Canada.
Similarly copper tapes, water barriers and fine mesh strips are cheap and effective methods of deterring slugs and snails.
Polytunnels are generally exempt from building control under the Town and Country Planning Act as they fall within the definition of an agricultural development. The general rule of thumb is that the polytunnel should be no more than 2.5m high and cover no more than 50% of the available growing space.
March through April, is generally the best time to erect and outfit your polytunnel if you intend to have one.
Extra plots available...
Due to exceptional demand, we have made more plots available on site. So if you missed out on a plot or know someone who wanted one, applications are once again open!
If you have any questions or need to get in touch, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org