If you want to make the most of your own little slice of the outdoors, you should check out these allotment tips
If you own an allotment you’ve got your very own patch of land to enjoy, hopefully growing all kinds of gorgeous fruits and veggies for your family. With this kind of space at a premium though, it is so important to master all kinds of different storage in order to make the most of it. To help you, checkout these essential storage tips for allotments:
Your Allotment Shed
Your allotment shed is an essential storage element of your allotment, but it does need lots of attention in order to make the most of the space. It is certainly recommended that you keep space to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea and a biscuit in any weather – you can’t grow award winning crops without energy! With the rest of the space, you can try the following to save space:
- Place any seasonal tools into cheap self storage
- Store loose strings, markers and pens into recycled food jars
- Utilise all hanging space so that you keep some floor space free – hanging shoe holders are great for this as they store gloves and tools we’ll
- Have a tub ready for muddy wellies and dirty clothes rather than using any hooks
- Consider using hidden shelves or drawers under your workbench
- Store seeds in reused tic tac containers and herb jars to protect from pests
Consider Additional Storage
As well as your allotment shed it makes sense to have additional storage options for other items that you may not want to keep in your shed. For example; if your shed is mainly used for repotting and spending time relaxing, you may not want lots of items stacked inside it. Instead, you could use a garden box that is able to be padlocked. You could buy one new or second hand, or even consider making your own. Sometimes, a wood cover for a plastic garden box can be useful anyway because it looks nicer and it provides an extra little bench if you need to sit down for a minute, or simply want seating for when you take your wellies on and off.
Your Fruit Harvests
Your fruit harvests will need to go home with you in order to be processed. As well as munching on your fruit everyday, you can do plenty with gluts including; making jam (utilising all those jars you have in your self storage unit), freezing fruit for smoothies and doing fruit switches with other allotment owners who grow different fruits.
Your Salad Harvests
Salad harvests are best to be enjoyed in the few days after harvest. Keeping your lettuce in jars though will keep it fresher for longer, so you’ll squeeze a little longer out of your crop. Even better, consider trying this yummy salad bag pesto from Jack Monroe which can further your lettuces reach. For tomatoes, the best way to deal with a glut is to make marinara sauce and store it because it can be used in stews, pastas, soups and more, so it’s really handy for those winter months.
Your Herb Harvests
The good thing about growing herbs in your allotment is that you don’t need to keep harvesting them to get them at their best. However, taking regular harvests will keep you in good supply of herbs and stop certain herbs getting woody or leggy. To preserve your herbs, freeze them and use them as normal when you have a recipe that requires herbs. You could even freeze individual portions into an ice cube tray for even more convenience.
Your Onion, Potato & Garlic Harvests
Onions, Potato & Garlic harvests are best kept at your allotment shed until you use them. You can hang them up in the dark shed and some items, like hanging garlic, will last for up to 8 weeks. Laundry bags are a great solution for this as they allow ventilation and can easily be hung on the bag of a door or from a hook on the wall.
An allotment is an incredible place to have as your own, which is why utilising it and storing things properly is so important. Use our tips above and you can make even more of your lovely outdoor growing space.
Seed storage is essential if you want to have a good supply ready for next year’s growing season.
The priority has to be all seeds being completely dry and free from waste. Some seeds won’t need long to dry at all, but chunkier seeds like beans and peas will require an extra couple of weeks to dry fully. During this time, they need to be in a non-humid, open condition so all the moisture can escape. A shelf in your shed can be helpful for this purpose, as long as plenty of ventilation gets into the space.
Once the seeds have dried, store them in labelled brown paper bags and never plastic bags, which will encourage moisture and rotting. These paper bags should be stored in a tin along with some moisture absorbing pouches or some raw, dry rice. The tin should then be placed in your shed out of direct sunlight, or any area with a constant temperature free from a risk of freezing or getting too hot.
When it comes to storing bulbs that you need to keep warm to avoid destruction from frost, use any storage box with shredded paper and it will protect them. Just be sure to keep the box in a cool and dark space until the time comes to plant them again.
Keep A ‘Cleaning Station’
So that all your stored items don’t get in a mess a ‘cleaning station’ makes sense at the allotment. Whilst it is a good idea to hang or raise other items so that they don’t take up floor space, this is one thing that should.
Consider using a plastic mat or tray that you can stand in and one next to it which is clean. You can then have the wet or muddy wellies contained and the tray they are in easily cleaned, whilst your ‘going home’ shoes can stay clean and dry in their own tray. Just be sure to secure the trays to the floor (a rubber non-slip mat and some glue, or glue Velcro strips work well). It is also a good idea to have a cleaning cloth and some hand wipes near this area, as well as a small rubbish bag, so if you have to do a real cleaning job you can contain the mess. Hooks for your coat, apron or tool belt are also handy in this corner of your shed.
The tips above can help you make more of your precious allotment, so instead of having to organise, you can enjoy more of the amazing gardening, socialising and relaxation that these incredible community spaces offer.