If you’ve got an allotment, you’re probably already familiar with how tempting it can be to spend lots of money on your plot. I remember how easy it was to get carried away when we first got our allotment; having that extra space and the chance to make it look exactly how we wanted it to was just so exciting!
Even if you don’t get carried away, buying everything you need for your allotment can be quite expensive.
Easy allotment DIY projects
The good news is there are lots of easy allotment DIY projects you can do that will help you make the most of your plot without breaking the bank. To help you get started, Case Farm has come up with some simple and straightforward DIY projects that will improve your allotment space without costing a fortune.
Allotment DIY #1: make your own compost bin
Compost is essential for improving your soil and helping your plants grow and thrive. Making your own compost is a great option if you’re gardening on a budget, and it will help you to be more eco-friendly too.
To make good compost, you need a suitable storage system. This is where you can save money with an allotment DIY project. All you need is wooden pallets, nails, old carpet or tarpaulin, stones, and a hammer.
Pallets are perfect for creating your own compost bin, because they’re a good size. Ideally, your bin should store a minimum of two cubic metres of compost for it to work efficiently. If possible, position your compost bin in a shady area of your allotment.
- Use four wooden pallets, arranging them in a square with the base of each pallet facing inwards.
- Nail them together for some support, and the basic structure is complete.
- Finish your DIY compost bin by making the lid. A square of old carpet works well if you have any spare offcuts. Alternatively, you can use thick plastic tarpaulin and weigh it down with some stones.
Allotment DIY #2: bird feeders
One of my favourite things about having an allotment is the way it allows you to interact with and support your local wildlife. Encourage wild birds to visit your plot with a bird feeder and they’ll return the favour by keeping on top of pests like greenfly, slugs and snails.
There are lots of easy ways to make your own DIY bird feeders. Here are a couple of eco-friendly options to get you started.
This is a great way to use up citrus fruit rinds – it also works well with a hollowed-out pumpkin (like the pumpkin bird feeder pictured above). To make one, you will need an empty fruit rind (halves work well), some thick string or wire, a needle, and some bird seed.
- Use a needle to poke holes through either side of the rind, about 2cm from the top of the fruit. The holes need to be large enough to fit your wire or string through. Repeat this step so you have four holes around the edge of the rind at even intervals.
- Cut four lengths of string or wire. Thread one length through each hole, securing with a knot on the outside of the rind.
- Tie the other end of all four lengths of string together to create a hanging loop.
- Fill your feeder up with seed and hang it from a tree or bush.
Plastic bottle feeder
Turning your old plastic bottles into feeders is another excellent way to attract wild birds to your allotment. You probably already have everything you need for this allotment DIY: an empty plastic bottle, a sharp knife, string, twigs or old wooden spoons, and bird seed.
- Clean your bottle and make sure it’s dry before you start.
- Using a knife, cut a hole about 5cm up from the bottom of the bottle. Cut another hole at the same height on the opposite side of the bottle. Slide a twig through both holes, then tie a length of string onto each end of the twig to create a hanging loop.
- Cut another two holes on opposite sides, about 8cm from the top of the bottle. Slide a twig or wooden spoon through both holes to create a perch on each side.
- About 5cm below the perches, cut another two small holes on opposite sides to allow access to the bird seed (the bottle is going to hang upside down, which is why you need to cut these holes below the perches).
- Pour bird seed into your bottle (using a jug with a spout makes this easier), screw the lid back on, then turn it upside down and hang it up.
DIY fat cake feeders are another great option for giving your local wild birds a treat. I’ve got a step-by-step guide to making them in my post on homemade bird feeders.
Allotment DIY #3: homemade raised beds
Having raised beds at your allotment can be very beneficial for your plants. Raised beds can help to extend the growing season, as the soil stays warmer in a raised bed than in the ground. A raised bed can also make it easier to keep your weeds under control. We found raised beds a big help when the kids were smaller too; it was easier (and less messy!) for them to work in a contained area.
This DIY raised bed method is great for plants that don’t need deep soil, such as lettuce, herbs and strawberries. To make your raised bed, you’ll need a wooden pallet, a heavy-duty staple gun, and some burlap or hessian fabric.
- Use your staple gun to attach a double layer of burlap or hessian fabric to the bottom of your pallet. If the sides of the pallet are open, attach fabric to those too. This will help to stop soil falling out.
- Position the pallet where you want your raised bed to be.
- Fill the gaps in your pallet with soil and compost to create the growing areas for your plants.
- Finish by adding your plants to your raised bed.
Hopefully these simple allotment DIY projects will help you get the most out of your allotment, and also save you some money. If you’ve created a clever DIY solution at your allotment I’d love to hear about it in the comments.