Ask Adam

Ask Adam #5: Rookie mistakes

Hollie from the UK has not long started to grow their own fruit and veg, and she’s kindly asked this question:

What are the top 5 rookie mistakes you made at the beginning of your allotment journey?

That’s a really good question and if I’m honest there’s probably more than 5.

1 – Not covering areas that I’ve dug over
Weed control is something that can be the hardest thing to get on top of. If you dig over an area then get it covered with old carpet, weed suppressing membrane or anything that will block sunlight. This will reduce the blow off from other weeds making it onto your bed and stop weeds from growing while you work on other areas.

2 – Making beds too big to manage
Too larger beds can make it harder to tend and will double the amount of time you spend on your garden. When making beds, you want to make sure you can reach across the bed from one side to the other. The constant reaching across can also put a strain on your muscles and joints.

3 – Creating permanent structures in the first years
The first few years of having an allotment or growing your can involve a lot of trial an error. You’ll find that some plants grow better in certain areas because of the soil conditions and the amount of sunlight available. It’s good to have the freedom to rebuild beds and paths in different areas if you need to make life easier in the long run.

4 – Not taking companion planting seriously
The more you grow, the less weeding you have to do and certain plants will grow better when they’re grown with other plants. It helps to deter pests and maximise water consumption among your plants.

This is a really good infographic to go by.

5 – Not documenting progress and preferred varieties from the start
It’s so good to look back on how far you’ve come since you decided to grow your own, and with any hobby or interest – the more you do it the more you’ll learn each time. It’s great to experiment and compare results to see works best for you for future growing, and making a note of this progress can prove invaluable later on.

There we have it! I’d love to read more things to avoid when starting a garden in the comments below!

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