Complete UK Allotment Gardening Planner: Monthly Tasks and Tips

by Helen J // May 29 // 0 Comments

Whether you're a seasoned gardener or you've just secured your first allotment, there's always something to be done to ensure your plot thrives throughout the year. In this guide, we will provide you with a month-by-month allotment planner, tailored to the UK climate and seasons. From soil preparation and planting to harvesting and maintaining infrastructure, we'll help you keep on top of your tasks and work in harmony with nature. Each month, we'll cover the essential tasks, along with tips for promoting wildlife and continuing your learning journey as an allotment gardener.

This planner is not only meant to guide you, but also to inspire you to try new things and fully enjoy the rewarding process of growing your own food. So, let's dig in and explore what each month has in store for your UK allotment!

Your month-by-month allotment guide


January: UK Allotment Planner

As we welcome a new year, January often brings with it a sense of anticipation and renewal. While the chilly weather may limit the amount of time you want to spend outside, there's plenty to do to prepare your allotment for the coming growing season. It's the perfect time to plan ahead, mend infrastructure, and care for wildlife, all while enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the garden in winter.

  • Soil Preparation: Test the pH of your soil and adjust if necessary. You can also begin to turn over your soil if the weather is mild, but avoid working on it when it's too wet to prevent compaction.
  • Planting: January is a great time to plant bare-root fruit trees and bushes, ensuring they are settled in before the growing season. Garlic and shallots can also be planted.
  • Harvesting: Continue to harvest hardy winter vegetables such as parsnips, Brussels sprouts, and leeks.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Check stored produce for rot and discard affected items. Inspect winter brassicas for signs of pigeon damage and net if necessary.
  • Maintenance: Clean tools and equipment. Prune apple and pear trees. Keep paths and netting clear of snow to avoid damage.
  • Planning: Order your seeds for the upcoming season and start planning the layout of your plot for the spring.
  • Composting: Turn your compost heap to help speed up the decomposition process.
  • Infrastructure: Repair and paint fences, sheds, and trellises. Check over your greenhouse for any damages.
  • Wildlife: Clean and refill bird feeders. Birds will help to control pests, and providing food for them supports biodiversity.
  • Learning: Use the quieter winter months to brush up on gardening knowledge. Read books, watch online tutorials or webinars, or consider joining a local gardening club.

February: UK Allotment Planner

As we start to shake off the winter chill, February brings the promise of spring just around the corner. Although weather can be unpredictable, with frosty mornings still common, the slowly lengthening days hint at the growing season ahead. Now is the time to prepare the soil, start sowing indoors, and begin early maintenance to ensure your allotment thrives in the coming months.

  • Soil Preparation: Begin warming your soil for early spring sowings. Covering it with black plastic or cloches will help to raise the temperature and prepare it for planting.
  • Planting: Start sowing seeds for tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, and other warm-weather plants indoors. Onions, leeks, and early peas can be sown under cover. If the weather is mild, consider sowing hardy vegetables like broad beans directly into the ground.
  • Harvesting: Continue to harvest winter vegetables like Brussels sprouts, parsnips, and leeks.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Watch for aphids on any indoor-sown seedlings. Use organic repellents or biological controls as needed. Continue to check winter brassicas for bird damage.
  • Maintenance: Prune apple and pear trees before they start to bud. Also, it's the perfect time to prune summer fruiting raspberry canes and established grapevines.
  • Planning: Finalise your plot layout for the upcoming season. Decide which crops will go where, considering crop rotation principles to maintain soil health.
  • Composting: Continue to turn compost heaps to speed up decomposition. Add any garden waste, such as prunings from your fruit bushes.
  • Infrastructure: Service and clean your gardening tools, ensuring they're ready for spring. Check water butts and fix leaks.
  • Wildlife: Keep feeding birds, providing them with fatty foods for energy during the cold weather. Begin to consider ways to encourage beneficial insects into your plot, like installing bug hotels.
  • Learning: Attend local gardening workshops or webinars, if available. Read up on crop rotation and companion planting principles, which can help increase your allotment's productivity.

March: UK Allotment Planner

As spring begins to emerge, March brings warmer weather and the growing season starts to kick into gear. It's an exciting time for allotment owners, with more daylight hours and the prospect of new growth. This month, focus on preparing the soil, sowing a wide range of crops, and maintaining infrastructure as needed.

  • Soil Preparation: If you haven't already done so, finish turning over your soil, removing any weeds as you go. If the soil is warm enough, you can start to direct sow some hardy vegetables.
  • Planting: Early potatoes can be planted out now. Indoors, you can sow a wide range of vegetables including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, aubergines, celery, and celeriac. Towards the end of the month, consider sowing outdoors if the weather is mild enough: try spinach, radishes, beetroot, carrots, peas, and leeks.
  • Harvesting: Early rhubarb should be ready to pick now. Continue to harvest any remaining winter crops.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Keep an eye out for early pests such as slugs and snails, particularly after rain. Net fruit bushes to protect them from birds.
  • Maintenance: Clean up any remaining debris from winter. Apply a general-purpose fertiliser to your beds to prepare them for planting.
  • Planning: Now is a good time to start implementing your plot layout plan. Set up trellises and supports for peas and beans.
  • Composting: As you clean up your plot, add any suitable waste to your compost heap. Continue to turn it regularly.
  • Infrastructure: Check and repair any issues with your irrigation system. Ensure sheds and greenhouses are in good repair.
  • Wildlife: Clean bird feeders and continue to provide food. As the weather warms, consider adding a water source for birds and beneficial insects.
  • Learning: Learn about the specific needs of the crops you're planning to grow this year. Consider attending a workshop or course on organic gardening or permaculture.

April: UK Allotment Planner

April truly ushers in the spring, with increasingly warmer days and blooming flowers. As the risk of frost decreases, it's time to sow a wider variety of seeds and plant out any hardened-off seedlings. This month is often a busy one for allotment keepers, but it's also an exciting time as you see your plot come to life.

  • Soil Preparation: Add compost or well-rotted manure to your beds to improve soil structure and nutrient content. Start preparing bean and pea trenches.
  • Planting: Plant out hardened off seedlings such as onions, shallots, and garlic. Begin sowing outdoors, weather permitting, crops like beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, Swiss chard, leeks, lettuce, radishes, and turnips. Continue to sow frost-sensitive plants indoors.
  • Harvesting: Harvest overwintered crops like parsnips and leeks. Early spring greens and radishes may also be ready for harvesting.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Start slug and snail control measures, as these pests will become more active. Watch out for aphids on young plants.
  • Maintenance: Water newly planted seedlings and young plants if the weather is dry. Hoe regularly to keep weeds down.
  • Planning: Make sure you are keeping to your plot layout plan. It's easy to get carried away with sowing and planting, but remember to leave space for crops that will be planted later in the season.
  • Composting: Regularly add green and brown materials to your compost heap, and turn it to help speed up the composting process.
  • Infrastructure: As your allotment becomes more active, make sure your paths, beds, and structures are holding up. Repair and strengthen any structures as necessary.
  • Wildlife: Maintain bird feeders, and consider installing a bee hotel to attract pollinators to your allotment. If you have a pond, now is a good time to clean it.
  • Learning: Join a local gardening group or online forum to learn from other gardeners' experiences. Read up on organic pest control methods.

May: UK Allotment Planner

May is a bustling month in the allotment as the risk of frost significantly reduces, and the growing season is in full swing. With longer, warmer days, plants grow quickly, but so do weeds. This month is about planting, sowing, and keeping on top of maintenance to ensure a healthy and productive plot.

  • Soil Preparation: Ensure all beds are well-weeded and filled with organic matter, ready for planting. Erect bean poles and tomato cages in preparation for planting.
  • Planting: Plant out any frost-sensitive plants like courgettes, pumpkins, tomatoes, and runner beans at the end of the month. Continue to sow direct crops like carrots, beetroot, and radishes, as well as salad crops for a continuous harvest.
  • Harvesting: Asparagus and early sown salads may be ready to harvest. Continue to pick rhubarb, ensuring to leave some stalks for next year.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Watch for signs of pests and diseases, particularly on young, vulnerable plants. Protect carrots from carrot fly using insect netting, and consider using biological controls for pests like slugs and aphids.
  • Maintenance: Water regularly, particularly in dry spells. Keep on top of weeding, as weeds compete with your crops for nutrients and water.
  • Planning: Keep an eye on the forecast and be ready to protect tender plants if late frosts are predicted. Start planning your successional sowings to ensure a continuous harvest throughout the season.
  • Composting: Keep adding to your compost heap, balancing green and brown materials for a good compost mix.
  • Infrastructure: Check that supports and cages are sturdy and ready for plants to climb. Ensure water butts are clean and ready for any rainfall.
  • Wildlife: Keep bird baths and feeders clean and well-stocked. Consider planting flowers that attract beneficial insects.
  • Learning: Attend a workshop or online webinar on a topic you're interested in, like pest control or composting. Read up on succession sowing and crop rotation to plan for the future.

June: UK Allotment Planner

June is often a rewarding month on the allotment, as the efforts of the previous months come to fruition. The warmer weather and longer days mean that plants (and weeds) are growing rapidly. Keeping on top of weeding and starting to regularly harvest crops are the key tasks for this month.

  • Soil Preparation: Mulch around plants to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Regularly hoe the soil to keep it aerated and weed-free.
  • Planting: Continue to successional sow quick-growing crops like radishes and lettuce. Plant out any remaining seedlings like pumpkins, squashes, and sweetcorn.
  • Harvesting: Early potatoes, strawberries, salads, radishes, spinach, and peas may be ready for harvesting. Continue to pick herbs to encourage new growth.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Regularly check plants for signs of pests and diseases. Pay particular attention to potatoes for signs of blight, and use organic treatments if necessary.
  • Maintenance: Water plants thoroughly in dry spells, preferably in the early morning or late evening to prevent evaporation.
  • Planning: Start planning for autumn and winter crops. Order seeds and prepare space for these crops.
  • Composting: Add any plant waste to your compost pile. Turn it regularly to ensure even decomposition.
  • Infrastructure: Check supports and stakes as plants grow taller and heavier. Replace or reinforce as necessary.
  • Wildlife: Continue to keep bird feeders and baths clean and well-stocked. Monitor your plot for beneficial insects and consider how to attract more.
  • Learning: Attend a local allotment open day or garden tour to gain inspiration and tips from other gardeners. Consider learning about organic pest control methods and how to attract beneficial insects to your plot.

July: UK Allotment Planner

July is a busy month in the allotment as the summer warmth brings everything to life. Harvesting becomes a regular activity and care must be taken to ensure plants are adequately watered. It's a beautiful time to enjoy your allotment, with many crops producing vibrant flowers and the first of the fruit ripening.

  • Soil Preparation: Continue to mulch around plants to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Avoid digging during dry periods to prevent the soil from drying out.
  • Planting: Sow fast-growing salad crops for a continuous harvest. It's also a good time to start sowing winter vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
  • Harvesting: Regularly harvest crops like beans, peas, courgettes, and salad leaves. Early potatoes, beetroot, carrots, and summer berries should also be ready to pick.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Watch out for common summer pests like aphids, blackfly, and caterpillars. Check potato and tomato plants regularly for signs of blight.
  • Maintenance: Water plants thoroughly and regularly during hot weather, focusing on new plantings and crops that are flowering or fruiting.
  • Planning: Continue to plan for autumn and winter crops. Prepare the ground for planting these crops in the coming months.
  • Composting: Regularly add any plant waste or harvested crop waste to your compost pile. Turn it regularly to ensure even decomposition.
  • Infrastructure: Check that supports and netting are still strong and in place. Repair or reinforce as necessary.
  • Wildlife: Keep bird feeders and baths clean and well-stocked. Monitor your plot for beneficial insects and consider planting more flowers to attract them.
  • Learning: Visit local flower shows or gardening events to get inspiration and learn more about different gardening techniques. Consider learning about preserving and storing your harvested crops to enjoy them later in the year.

August: UK Allotment Planner

August is a peak month for harvesting on the allotment, with a vast array of vegetables, fruits, and herbs ripe for the picking. Warm, long days mean that watering and pest control are still essential tasks. Amidst the busyness, remember to take some time to simply enjoy the fruits of your labour.

  • Soil Preparation: Keep mulching to maintain soil moisture and suppress weeds. Start preparing any free beds for autumn planting.
  • Planting: Sow quick growing salad crops for a late summer harvest. You can also start sowing overwintering onions and spring cabbages.
  • Harvesting: Harvest crops regularly, including beans, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, salad leaves, and herbs. Begin lifting onions and shallots if ready.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Continue to check plants for signs of pests and diseases. Keep an eye on brassicas for caterpillars and aphids, and tomatoes for signs of blight.
  • Maintenance: Regular watering is crucial, especially for plants in pots or grow bags. Continue to hoe off weeds to keep them in check.
  • Planning: Start planning for next year by noting down what has grown well and what hasn't. Consider crop rotation for next year's plan.
  • Composting: Keep adding green and brown materials to your compost heap. Turn it regularly to help speed up decomposition.
  • Infrastructure: Check your storage facilities are ready for the harvest season. Repair any issues with netting or plant supports.
  • Wildlife: Keep bird baths clean and filled with fresh water. Continue to encourage beneficial insects by allowing some of your herbs and vegetables to flower.
  • Learning: Attend a preserving or pickling workshop to learn how to preserve your summer harvest. Continue reading and learning about successful techniques for winter gardening.

September: UK Allotment Planner

September signals the end of summer and the start of autumn, but there's still plenty of activity on the allotment. Harvesting continues, and it's time to start thinking about preparing the plot for the colder months ahead.

  • Soil Preparation: Start clearing spent crops and prepare the ground for overwintering vegetables and green manures. Add compost or well-rotted manure to enrich the soil.
  • Planting: Plant out spring cabbages and overwintering onions. Sow green manures such as clover or rye to improve soil structure and nutrient levels.
  • Harvesting: Continue to harvest remaining summer crops such as beans, tomatoes, and courgettes. Apples, plums, and other autumn fruits should also be ready for picking.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Look out for late-summer pests and diseases, particularly on brassicas, and take necessary action.
  • Maintenance: Water any new plantings if the weather is dry, and keep on top of weeding. Start to collect and store seeds from successful plants for next year.
  • Planning: Now is a good time to order seeds for next year. Think about which crops did well this year and what you might want to change for the next growing season.
  • Composting: Add any plant waste to your compost pile. Continue turning it regularly to ensure it decomposes evenly.
  • Infrastructure: Clean and store pots, seed trays, and garden tools that are no longer needed. Carry out any necessary repairs on greenhouses, sheds, and fences before winter.
  • Wildlife: Keep bird baths and feeders clean and well-stocked. Allow some crops to set seed to provide food for birds.Learning: Attend local garden visits or workshops to learn from experienced gardeners. Consider reading up on seed saving, composting, or winter vegetable growing.

October: UK Allotment Planner

October brings shorter days and cooler weather, as autumn settles in. The focus begins to shift from harvesting to preparing the allotment for winter. It's a great time to reflect on the past growing season and to start planning for the next.

  • Soil Preparation: Continue clearing spent crops and weeds from beds. Dig over the soil and add well-rotted manure or compost to prepare it for next spring.
  • Planting: Plant out garlic cloves and autumn onion sets. Sow broad beans and peas for an early crop next spring. Plant out any remaining overwintering crops.
  • Harvesting: Maincrop potatoes should be ready to lift and store. Harvest pumpkins and squashes before the first frost. Continue to pick apples and pears.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Clear fallen leaves to prevent them from harbouring pests and diseases. Net brassicas to protect them from pigeons as food sources become scarcer.
  • Maintenance: Start winter pruning of fruit trees and bushes. Clean and maintain tools before storing them for winter.
  • Planning: Plan your crop rotation for next year to prevent build-up of pests and diseases. Order any seeds or plants for next year.
  • Composting: Add any plant waste to your compost pile, including fallen leaves. Turn your compost heap one last time before winter.
  • Infrastructure: Clean and disinfect greenhouses and cold frames. Check and repair fences, sheds, and other structures.
  • Wildlife: Clean and refill bird feeders and baths. Consider creating a log pile to provide a habitat for beneficial insects over winter.
  • Learning: Attend local gardening workshops or talks. Read up on topics you're interested in, such as organic gardening, permaculture, or preserving your harvest.

November: UK Allotment Planner

As winter approaches, November is a quieter month on the allotment, but there's still work to be done. It's a good time to prepare for the colder months, do some maintenance work, and plan for the year ahead.

  • Soil Preparation: Finish any remaining digging and soil preparation. If you've sown green manures, dig them in.
  • Planting: You can still plant garlic cloves, as well as bare root fruit trees and bushes. Ensure any overwintering crops are well protected.
  • Harvesting: Harvest remaining crops such as leeks, parsnips, and Brussels sprouts. Apples and pears may still be ready to pick.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Continue to clear fallen leaves and debris to prevent pests and diseases. Protect vulnerable plants from pests and frost with horticultural fleece or cloches.
  • Maintenance: Clean, repair, and oil tools before storing them for winter. Protect water butts and irrigation systems from freezing.
  • Planning: Reflect on the successes and failures of the past year and start planning for the next growing season. Consider trying new varieties or techniques.
  • Composting: Add any plant waste to your compost pile, balancing green and brown materials. Cover compost heaps to protect them from winter rains.
  • Infrastructure: Carry out repairs and improvements on sheds, greenhouses, and other structures. Check that netting and protection is secure against winter winds.
  • Wildlife: Clean and refill bird feeders and baths. Consider leaving seed heads on some plants to provide food for birds.
  • Learning: Now is a great time to read gardening books or attend indoor workshops and lectures. Consider learning more about topics like soil health, organic pest control, or permaculture.

December: UK Allotment Planner

December is the quietest month on the allotment, with short days and often cold, wet weather. But even now, there are still tasks to do. It's a great time for planning and maintenance, and for preparing the allotment for the year ahead.

  • Soil Preparation: If the ground is not frozen or waterlogged, you can continue to dig over beds, adding organic matter to improve soil structure.
  • Planting: Bare root fruit trees and bushes can still be planted, weather permitting. Check overwintering crops and ensure they're well protected from the cold.
  • Harvesting: You may still have hardy vegetables to harvest, like parsnips, cabbages, Brussels sprouts, and leeks.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Remove any plant debris and fallen leaves to minimize overwintering pests and diseases. Check stored fruits and vegetables for rot and remove any that are affected.
  • Maintenance: Maintain and repair tools, structures, and equipment. Service any machinery such as lawnmowers or rotavators.
  • Planning: Finalize your plan for the next growing season. Order seeds and plants, ready for early spring sowing.
  • Composting: Continue to add kitchen scraps and plant waste to your compost heap.
  • Infrastructure: If weather permits, make improvements to paths, fences, and structures. Clean and disinfect water butts and other water storage containers.
  • Wildlife: Keep bird feeders and baths clean and well-stocked. Provide habitats for beneficial insects and animals by creating log piles or leaving some areas of the plot undisturbed.
  • Learning: Use the quiet winter period to educate yourself further on gardening topics. Read books, listen to podcasts, or take an online course to broaden your knowledge and get inspired for the coming year.

I'm an enthusiastic, but currently inexperienced gardener trying to keep an allotment for the first time. I'm hoping to grow some lovely veggies throughout the year and will share my progress and learnings.