Allotments with young children

Organic homegrown carrots

Dreaming of signing up for your own allotment but daunted by the thought of taking it on in tandem with parenting a young child? So were we, but since getting our plot we haven't looked back.  Apparently getting started is the hardest part. New allotments (like ours) are often a bit of a jungle, which could be daunting to a novice. Here's 10 steps we found made getting our allotment going easier.

Sow your own -

how to allotment garden with kidsSeeds cost a fraction of the cost of plug plants and most need a month or two in a greenhouse or a window sill to become hardy enough to plant out. Many councils have shorter allotment waiting lists now. I put trays in the greenhouse just in case when we applied for our allotment. We got ours within two weeks, so it was really handy to have a good choice of plants to put into the beds. Much cheaper than buying veg trays

Don't take on too much - 

At first we were disappointed to have been only allocated a half plot. But two weeks on we're greatful we aren't clearing double. Set small goals everytime you head up to your plot, remember it takes years to make a plot look like those swish examples some of your neighbours will have.

Plan your crops wisely -

hidden treasure at the allotmentUnless you are going to go to your allotment everyday, chose plants that the pests seem to avoid- we seem to do well  with root veg, marrows, squashes and onion

Waste not, want not

You may be suprised what you inherit. We were welcomed by asparagus. raspberry canes, rhubarb and a gooseberry bush. Worth 4 years allotment rent. They were well buried under weeds. So take your time clearing to appreciate what might be already growing.

Clear it one bed at a time 

starting at your own allotmenNot only will you feel more accomplished if you have a veg bed clear and planted. It will give you a chance to learn about your plot and how it responds to the weather. 

Take baby entertainment 

Our activity table got the boot when we found heuristic play. But its handy at the allotment as a place to plonk froggy when the heavy tools are out. Its making a good bird scarer too. Sensory play is so easy too. Simply take one of your smaller baskets to the plot and add to its contents with things you find along the way. 

Take photos. Lots of them.  

You won't believe the before and afters. It can bring you around when you are struggling to get motivated.

 Plant your crops in batches

Nobody wants to be faced with a couple of hundred carrots at once.  Plant a few weeks at a time to avoid a glut at harvest  time.

Talk to other allotmenteers

We've found the allotment to be a really social environment with neighbouring allotmenteers offering lots of advice and use of their tools,  compost and manure. Some have even offered free plants. 

Enjoy it and create a space for relaxing. 

Sometimes I have to stop to feed froggy. It's frustrating when you want to keep going.  By creating a relaxing spot  to chill out  we've been able to be at the allotment longer. Snacks and water are a must to.