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Having taken on your allotment, and depending on the time of year, you may achieve a first crop – but the name of the game is patience. Clearing and cultivating a half plot can take anything up to a year – assuming that you can give one day on a weekend and at least a couple of evenings in the summer months. Becoming self-sufficient in fruit and veg is a goal that the whole family must be enthusiastic about in order to achieve. It’s a long-term investment and can initially be an expensive hobby. The reasons for taking on an allotment will differ between people, but with inflation at an all time high and the rising cost of fresh fruit and veg, an allotment can become a real asset to today’s family.

One key factor that remains the same for all of us is time; the hours we spend on site as well the passing of seasons. Because most of us are not full-time gardeners, juggling our time between work and family commitments and the fact it takes several seasons to learn the skills required – from trial and error as well as tuition from the wise on the allotment, time management is the key here to your success.

When we talk about being self-sufficient, at this early stage, we mean ‘summer’ self-sufficient, being able to grow fruit and veg over a six-to-nine-month period. Being able to produce fruit and veg ‘all year round’ from your allotment is not an impossibility – but the very fact we live in a country where even the summers are poor weather wise, can make this very difficult to achieve even for the well-established growers with decades of experience. The aim is to achieve a bountiful crop and harvest from as early in the year as possible and learn how to extend your growing season as far as possible into the winter and on into the following year.

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