I've recently - and unintentionally - become leader of my local allotment site in south London - which is a largely urban area with quite a few parks and allotment sites. As allotments go in England, it's pretty relaxed, but I am very keen to push it further in a biodiverse, permaculture direction.
So, for 2019 I'm compiling a list of eco-friendly things allotment growies could be doing that would actually result in less work/more success for them. Some of the old guys love a good dig and I'm not going to interfere with their little pleasures, but I'm trying to prevent the new youngsters from unthinkingly following their lead.
Here are some thoughts so far, in brief:
1. No dig: you simply don't need to dig, and digging is bad for soil structure and soil life - so ultimately bad for the plants. Plus it just means more weeds.
2. Mulch/chop and drop: helps prevent weeds and is a fertiliser. No need for a compost bin.
2. No chemicals/fertilisers: not needed and bad for eco - and humans
3. Plant some of your plot with perennials - they're efficient
4. Biodiversity: let nature sort out most of your pests for you. The more you interfere, the more you'll have to interfere.
5. Slugs (our biggest pest): hand-pick + scissors + habitat for their predators. Pellets are eco-bad.
6. Polyculture: confuses the pests, and the plants enjoy company
7. Wildflowers/herbs: plant as many as you can - attracts pest predators and confuses pests
8. Winter habitat: don't clear the plot, leave the dying wildflowers and piles of stuff for the wildlife, plant green manure
9. Patience: be patient and observe - your new eco-system will take a couple of years to come into balance
10. Water: soil is not polystyrene, it's alive, and the more plant matter in it, the better for how much water it can hold.
You probably have many more! I'm trying to distill it into Top 10 things. What are your favourites, and what would be your main message to connect with their thinking?