Allotment gardening has been established for many years in Europe but is becoming increasingly popular in many parts of North America. Allotments are typically created on unused green space owned by cities, towns and counties. They provide residents without a yard or garden the opportunity to grow vegetables and herbs. A small annual fee is usually payable to the municipality for the use of the land. Growing vegetables on allotments is not much different than home gardening, although moving supplies and harvested produce between home and the plot should be taken into consideration.
Research the availability of allotments in your area by contacting your local municipality or county office. There will be an application process and possibly a waiting list depending on the local demand.
Plan your garden by making a drawing of the allotment. Orient planting rows north to south to make the best use of light. You will need to choose vegetables that are suitable both to the local climate and for the space you have available. Plants such as asparagus, pumpkins and squash require a lot of room and are not good choices for small plot. Local gardening organization and county extension office can provide valuable advice on what to grow and when to plant.
Clear the allotment of weeds, grass and other debris and loosen the top 6 inches of soil with the spade. Spread 4 to 6 inches of compost or manure over the plot and dig it into the soil lightly. Wait about a week before planting so that the organic material can begin breaking down into the soil.
Level the plot with the rake and use stakes and string to mark out the rows according to your plan. Pulling the soil up into a shallow mound along the center of each row will give your vegetables better drainage and make weeding easier.
Plant your seeds according to the spacing and depth directions on the packages. Keep the soil moist until the seeds have germinated. This can be challenging if your allotment is some distance from home. You should try to make two trips a day until the seeds have sprouted to make sure the plot doesn't dry out.
Water your garden thoroughly once a week, preferably in the morning. Vegetables need at least an inch of water each week but you can reduce irrigation if local rainfall is adequate. Weeding the garden every day will keep this chore manageable and minimize competition for soil nutrients.