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Growers' Guide

We aim to provide basic information about what to grow, when and how, in an easy to understand way.


The information provided here is intended for people without or with very little experience of growing fruit and vegetables on allotments.

Because of the variation in climate between different parts of the UK, the information based on our experience of growing fruit and vegetables in Norwich may not be applicable to other areas.


Please feel free to use the information for personal, non-commercial purposes. We will keep updating and improving both the quality and the content of these pages on a continuous basis.


Please send us your comments with suggestions for improvements.

On this page:


Planning Your Plot

This information is designed for those using a raised bed. It shows how a small plot (6 x 1.20 meters) can be divided into mini sections to practice crop rotation. Based on our experience, we recommend that a plot of this size is sufficient for beginners to get the hang of growing vegetables.

Download the plot plan.


Plant Family

The most commonly grown vegetables are grouped in five different plant families.


They are: 

  • Potato & Cucumber

  • Onion, Pea & Bean

  • Cabbage

  • Carrot & Beet

  • Lettuce


Sweet corn is not included in any family, so it can be grown in sequence.


Download the plant family guide.

Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is a technique for growing vegetables belonging to one plant family on different plots each year. The most common practice is to have a four year crop rotation, that is to grow the same crop planted on plot 1 in year 1 every 4 years.


Although advisable especially for the organic growers, crop rotation in actual practice can be adapted to suit our own requirements and  can have three-year or even two-year rotation. For example, early potatoes are ready in July; we can grow French beans after harvesting early potatoes, then spring cabbage and Swiss chard in the following year.

Download the crop rotation sequence plan.


Monthly Calendar

Vegetable growing depends entirely on the weather pattern and season unless we use high tech temperature-controlled greenhouses. So the amount of time required for gardening is very seasonal.

Based on the analysis of the UK weather pattern, the most  busy months are April to September. In terms of harvest, it is the summer months when there is abundance of fruit and vegetables.


Read the month by month guide.

Sowing / Planting Techniques

How much space is required to grow vegetables?


This leaflet tells you about techniques for growing vegetables and the number of plants you can grow on one square metre area. You will be surprised to find out how little space you need to grow some salad.


Download the sowing / planting guide.

What, When and How

As the name suggests, this leaflet is intended to give you a basic idea about what to grow, when and how.


The most commonly grown vegetables in the UK are grouped into three categories, illustrating the level of difficulty through using a traffic light symbol.


It is recommended that those without any previous experience of growing vegetables start with the “green” category to avoid disappointment.. However, the definition of what is “easy” and “hard” is  based on a number of factors such as growing techniques used, soil type, location and so on.


Download the 'What, When, How' leaflet.


Growers’ Guide Summary

This single page guide is produced for beginners starting growing fruit and vegetables in a mini plot or back garden. It focuses on easy to grow crops and provides useful tips – general as well as crop specific.


Download the growers' guide summary.



Fact sheets provide detailed information on each fruit and vegetable species. We have covered most commonly grown fruit and vegetables in our community gardens. Each sheet is colour coded using the traffic light system.

Download the fruit and vegetable factsheets.

Training Notes and Videos

We have been running face-to-face practical gardening training for some time. This section has copies of all our previous training notes and comments in detail. Unable to run face-to face training sessions since March 2020 due to social distancing rules, we started on-line training using videos on specific gardening topics which are available here to view.

View training notes and videos.

training notes and videos
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