The theme of National Allotments Week 2020 is Growing Food for Health and Well-being, so with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the healthiest yet easiest things to grow in an allotment.
Growing your own food in an allotment gives you good control over the types of fertiliser and pesticides your fruit and veg are exposed to, and also lets you choose exactly what to grow.
Here’s our pick of the five easiest things to grow in an allotment, in line with the healthy theme of National Allotments Week 2020.
Onions are a versatile ingredient and you can grow them in several different ways, including starting from seed.
It’s common instead to grow onions from a ‘set’, which is a small onion you plant in your allotment and then harvest once it reaches full size.
You can even plant the root end of a mature onion when you slice it off during cooking, which should grow back into another onion over the course of 90-120 days.
Potatoes are the classic British staple food, so it’s no surprise that many allotment holders choose to grow them.
You can plant potatoes in beds or grow them in containers. If you have a greenhouse on your allotment, you can also grow them through the autumn – which means your roast potatoes on your Christmas dinner could come from your own harvest!
Just be wary of damage to your potato plants. Some of the biggest threats include frost, excess water in the soil, and slug damage.
Rhubarb is a fruity allotment favourite – although it is technically a vegetable – as it grows well from ground level and you can harvest just as much as you need each time.
There are only a few things you need to know, including that rhubarb needs plenty of space, so might not be suitable for small allotment plots.
It’s also important not to eat the leaves or give them to wildlife or pets, as they contain oxalic acid; however, it is safe to put them in your compost bin.
Blackberries are so easy to grow that you can find them in almost any public park, footpath or hedgerow.
However, that shouldn’t stop you from planting them on purpose, as they’re delicious and not difficult to cultivate.
You can grow blackberries from cuttings and propagate more plants easily too, as the tips of stems can put down new roots when they come into contact with the soil.
Blackberries grow well in shady areas, which makes them ideal for allotments with ‘less than perfect’ growing conditions for most other fruits.
Herbs grow well on allotments with very little effort, and they’re an excellent way to add flavour to meals without packing more fat or salt into the recipe.
Grow chives for a convenient way to add a mild onion flavour; oregano for a taste of Italy on pizzas and in pasta dishes; or versatile classics like parsley and sage.
All of these are easy to grow and don’t take up too much space, so you should be able to add a herb garden while still leaving plenty of room to grow fruit and veg on your allotment.