As the chill of winter slowly dissipates and the first signs of spring start to emerge, February is an exciting time for those of us who tend to an allotment. Amidst the rows of earth and vegetables, the allotment provides a sanctuary of growth, community, and rejuvenation.
As the days get longer and warmth begins to soak into the soil, the sights, sounds, and smells of the allotment come alive. More than just a plot of land to grow food, it’s a place to connect with nature, spend time outdoors, and immerse oneself in the rhythms of the earth.
February is a busy month for allotmenteers who take pride in the health of their soil, knowing it’s the foundation of healthy and productive plants. Traditionally, this involved turning over the earth and removing any remaining debris from the previous growing season. Today, however, it’s more common to see an allotmenteer using a sheet of cardboard instead of a spade to prepare the soil.
The practice of no-dig growing, also known as no-till, is gaining popularity. By minimising soil disturbance and maintaining a protective mulch layer, no-dig growing helps to conserve soil structure and biodiversity. After applying a layer of weed-suppressing cardboard and covering this with compost, the plot is ready for planting.
With its focus on enhancing soil health and reducing the impact of human activity on the earth, no-dig growing offers a holistic and regenerative approach to cultivation, one that nurtures the soil and the plants it supports.
Quicker than digging over the plot, the no-dig approach also removes the time barrier for some would-be gardeners, and, as it is easier on the lower back, removes physical barriers for many others.
With the soil ready, seeds selected, and the first signs of new life appearing, February on the plot is a source of inspiration, hope, and renewal. And, with the end of winter in sight, growing anticipation for the season ahead.
For those who are new to allotment gardening, the month that sits between winter and spring is an ideal time to start. There’s a wealth of information available online and through community resources, so beginners can learn about no-dig soil preparation, seed selection, and planting.