Hints and Tips

Western Wards Allotment Association

Hints and Tips

Crop Rotation:

The principle of crop rotation is to grow specific groups of vegetables on a different part of the vegetable plot each year. This helps to reduce a build-up of crop-specific pest and disease problems and it organises groups of crops according to their cultivation needs. Continue reading...

Companion Planting:

Companion planting is all about creating plant communities which have mutual benefits to each other. It can be an organic way to protect your crops from pests or it could help improve pollination of fruit and vegetable crops. Continue reading...


The basic compost recipe couldn't be easier. All you need is a basic compost bin - or even simpler a pile in the corner of the garden that's out of site, and just keep adding the right material to it! Continue reading...

How to fill the Winter/Spring Gap:

So many allotmenteers work really hard over this period but ignore resources they have available. Most plots are just finishing off their last purple sprouting broccoli so, aside from rhubarb and a few hardy lettuce, there isn't much around at the moment. Here are a couple of ideas to help fill the gap: Continue reading...

Garlic Spray:

Try Rosie Yeomans' popular garlic recipe for keeping slugs at bay! Take one whole bulb of garlic, put it into 2 pints of cool water and boil it for 10 mins. Cool the pot outside ( it smells too strong to leave indoors). When cool decant into a bottle (this will become your garlic concentrate). Add 1tbsp on the garlic concentrate into one galloon of water. Water plants with this every fortnight and when it's not raining. This should help keep your slugs away.

Identifying Good and Bad Insects:

Not all bugs in your garden are bad. Find out which pests are beneficial to your plants and which are harmful. Continue reading...

Potato and Tomato Blight:

Potato and tomato blight, properly called late blight, is a disease of the foliage and fruit or tubers of tomatoes and potatoes, causing rotting. It is most common in wet weather. Continue reading...

How to reduce the need to water:

  • Dig in or mulch with plenty of organic matter; this will help to retain moisture in the soil.
  • Apply mulches when the soil is warm and moist, this will reduce water loss due to evaporation and also suppress weeds.
  • Weeds compete for moisture and nutrients in the soil so weed regularly or cover soil with a weed suppressing geo-textile. The weeds, roots and all can be composted if processed correctly by drowning in water or put in a black plastic bag in the sun until they decompose. Weed seeds will only be destroyed in the hot compost process.
  • Grow crops that suit your local conditions. A greenhouse or poly-tunnel can increase the need for water significantly so water harvesting from these structures is important.

Dealing with drought:

A drought is a shortage of water resulting from a period of low rainfall affecting people, agriculture, industry or the environment. Some droughts are short and intense while others are long and take time to develop. Every drought is different and there is no formal definition of a drought. Plot-holders who garden with water in mind, who reduce the need to water and harvest rainwater will have plots that withstand the stress of drought much better.

Your water company may introduce measures that will affect allotment holders, to help it manage its supplies following periods of prolonged dry weather or drought. Some customers are exempt from the restrictions or can apply to their water company to request an exemption, for example, holders of a Blue Badge. The company should use the media or other marketing campaigns to keep you informed about the following restrictions.

Hosepipe bans:

Your water company may introduce a hosepipe ban if it is likely to be short of water because of a drought. Your water company can prevent you from using, or restrict your use of, hosepipes and sprinklers to water your garden or allotment. You can be fined for using a hosepipe or sprinkler when a ban is in place.

Drought orders:

A drought order allows your water company to restrict the non-essential use of water. This includes restrictions on:

  • using hosepipes or sprinklers to water gardens, allotments, parks and recreation grounds
  • filling ornamental ponds, other than fishponds
  • cleaning building exteriors (apart from windows)

Drought orders and emergency drought orders are granted by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in England, and by the Welsh Assembly Government in Wales.

This document is produced by The National Allotment Society.