Here you'll find several articles, written by other allotment holders on our site, which are here to act as either a discussion point or provide some help for others.

If you have an article you'd like to see published here then please get in touch with a member of the committee. Don't worry about the technical aspect of writing a web page this can be done for you.


As more and more of our waste needs to be recycled, composting provides the most obvious solution to sending organic waste to land fill. However, traditional composting systems, such as the standard 'dalek' bin or open air site can lead to serious pest problems when trying to compost kitchen waste. For example, rats and flies can be attracted to kitchen waste, especially cooked food that is placed on open air sites or in the traditional compost bin. However, throwing away all those valuable vitamins and trace elements contained in kitchen waste seems illogical when they can be reused to produce the next generation of crops down on the allotment. Fortunetly, there are a number of commercially available solutions to this problem, here we have a discussion on two of them.


The bokashi system allows the composting of all cooked foods quickly and easily. Kitchen waste is added to one of the two bins provided and then a small amount of bokashi bran is sprinkled on the top. This bran contains lots of bacteria which get to work breaking down the material. Once the first bin is filled it can be left for two weeks then added to the garden or standard garden compost bin. In addition to disposing of kitchen waste this system also provides a liquid fertiliser which can be drained off via a tap at the bottom of each bin. The only disadvantage to this system is the fact that it requires a supply of bokashi bran and packs of this must be purchased so essentially you are paying to compost your own kitchen waste.

Bokashi Bins

Bokashi bins are generally available from the recyclenow web site at discounted prices.

Green Johanna

This composting unit is a completely secure bin designed for 'hot composting' of all organic waste including garden waste and all cooked foods such as meat and dairy products. It contains a fully integrated base and the two access doors can be screwed shut to ensure no unwanted pests can gain entry. 'Hot Composting' produces compost in a much quicker time than standard darlek style bins (typically 4-6 months). However, it does require the material in the bin to be mixed in the correct quantities. Typically, compostable material falls into one of two categories, cargon based such as sawdust and nitgrogen based such as grass clippings. To ensure correct composting the Green Johanna typically requires one part carbon-rich material (garden waste) to two parts nitrogen-rich material (household waste). As such carbon rich garden material needs to be available during the winter months to ensure the correct mix of materials is maintained.

For more information on the green johanna please visit the green cone website.. Sometimes green johanna's are available from the recyclenow web site at discounted prices.

Green Johanna

Paper Pots

These are great little devices and very simple to use. By recycling old newspapers it is possible to make paper pots of different sizes. Once made the pots can be filled with compost and seeds added as normal. Once the seedlings have grown the whole pot can be dropped into the ground and left to compost naturally. Using paper pots not only saves money by not having to purchase plastic ones but also there is no root disturbance for the seedlings as the whole pot is planted in the ground. In addition, the paper breaks down adding humus to the soil and also retains water so the compost stays moist for longer.

Paper Potters Paper Pots

These items are available from a number of suppliers including harrod horticulture. For those that are interested in these devices it is worth noting that the free York newspaper produces around 40 medium sized pots.


See below for our quick reference guide on what to plant and when. The list below gives outline information only, don't forget to check on your seed packets for more specific instructions.

PlantSoil TypeBetween Rows (cm)Between Plants (cm)SowSow Under CoverPlant/TransplantHarvest
Atrichoke (Jerusalem)Deep Sandy Loam Lightly Manured7530--Feb - MarOct - Mar
Broad Beans (Spring Sown)Rich Sandy Loam6015Mar - May--Jun - Aug
Broad Beans (Autumn Sown)Rich Sandy Loam6015Nov - Jan--Jun - Aug
French BeansDeep Light Loam Potash3015May - JunMar - Apr-Jul - Oct
Runner BeansDeep Light Loam Potash6015May - JunApr --Jul - Oct
BeetrootDeep Light Loam Potash3025Apr - May---
Broccoli and CalabreseFirm Well Manured Loam6050Mar - May-Jun - JulOct - May
Brussel SproutsFirm Enriched Loam Lime6060Mar - AprFeb -May - JunOct - Mar
Cabbage (Spring Sown)Firm Enriched Loam Lime4530Apr -Feb -Jun - JulJul - Nov
Cabbage (Autumn Sown)Firm Enriched Loam Lime6045Jul - Aug-Oct -Apr - Jul
CarrotSandy Loam Lime and Potash3015Apr -Nov - Feb--
Cauliflower (Spring Sown)Well Manured Loam Potash6045Mar - AprJan - FebMay - JunJun - Oct
Cauliflower (Autumn Sown)Well Manured Loam Potash6045Aug -Oct -Feb - MarMay - Jun
CeleryWell Manured Moist Loam7515Apr -Jan - FebMay - JunOct - Feb
CeleriacWell Manured Moist Loam4030-Feb - MarMay - JunOct - Nov
CourgetteWell Manured Loam6080Jun - JulApr - MarJun - JulJul - Oct
GarlicEnriched Loam Lime Potash3015Feb - Mar--Jul - Sep
Green PeperWell Manured Loam4560-Feb - MarJun - JulAug - Oct
LeeksWell Manured Moist Loam4015Mar -Jan - FebMay - JulOct - Mar
LettuceRich Loam3015Mar - AugJan - MarApr - JulMar - Nov
Onions (Seeds)Rich Moist Loam Lime Potash3015Mar - AprDec - FebApr - May-
ParsnipDeep Sandy Loam Lime Potash4525Feb - Mar--Nov - Mar
Peas (Early)Loam Manured Previous Year755Feb - Mar--Jun - Jul
Peas and Mange ToutLoam Manured Previous Year755Mar - May--Jul - Aug
Potatoes (Early)Deep Manured Loam Potash4525Mar ---Jun - Jul
Potatoes (Main Crop)Deep Manured Loam Potash6040Apr ---Sep -
RadishesRich Loam30 Mar - SepOct - Feb-Apr - Oct
Onions and Shallot SetsRich Loam Potash3025Mar ---Aug - Mar
Spinach and Swiss ChardRich Loam3015Mar - Aug--Jun - Apr
SweetcornEnriched Loam6060May -Apr -May - JunAug - Sep
TomatoesRich Sandy Loam Potash6030-Feb - MarMay -Aug - Nov
TurnipSandy Loam Lime Potash3015Apr - JulJan - Feb--
Marrow and PumpkinsRich Loam9090May -Feb - AprMay - JunAug - Oct