I RECEIVED a great email from Jim, asking for some advice. It’s that time of the year those people on waiting lists for allotments get the news they have been waiting for.

“Vix, we got the best news ever, we have finally got our allotment,” wrote Jim. “We have been waiting for three years. We visited the plot yesterday afternoon and my goodness, it’s like a jungle. My wife is saying hire a mini digger and bulldozer everything down and start from scratch. I thought I’d get in touch for some advice.”

Every new allotment owner goes through this. The excitement of the news then the reality of the actual plot. It seems that 9/10 allotments are left for a full season before they are handed over to the new tenants so don’t feel like you’ve got a rough deal.

My top 5 tips for new plots:

Make a compost heap and make it a big one, it’s going to get filled very quickly. If you can have two and ensure they are easy to get to with your barrow.

If you have an existing shed there, excellent. If it’s filled with junk even better! All those plant pots, rusty tools, random buckets and barrels will come in, don’t throw them away! Just fix up the shed and you have saved yourself a couple of hundred quid already!

Don’t be tempted to hire a rotavator and do the whole plot, weed it properly getting rid of the roots as you go. Sometimes you find veggies like onions waiting for harvest.

You might have trees at the bottom of your plot, don’t go chopping them down. A little shady retreat is nice in the height of summer, plus they may have a protection order! Maybe think about giving some room back to nature with a pond too. Don’t forget frogs and song thrushes love to eat slugs and snails!

Once you have cleared a small area, plant it up, even if it’s lettuce or a few strawberry plants, it makes the digging worthwhile.

My allotment to do list:

I’m going to chance another sowing of peas.

Thin apples and pears down to one or two fruits per cluster.

Continue lifting your potatoes.

Keep harvesting courgettes or marrows will appear.

If you have any allotment queries email vixlot@outlook.com