Taking on an allotment for the first time as a total amature is daunting! 2016 was the first full growing season we had. The ground was tough and we weren't too sure how successful our crops would be. We decided to grow a bit of everything to see what would work, and what didn't.
What we grew:
Courgettes (5x! ... lesson learned: less is more when it comes to courgette!)
Purple sprouting broccoli (as above!)
Despite making a few rookie mistakes, we had a phenomonal first season. We had SO much produce, we literally couldn't pick it fast enough. My little plot was producing more than enough fruit and veg for 4 adults plus a few friends and relatives. This was seriously amazing, and it just goes to show that with a little effort you can gain so much.
One of the biggest lessons we learnt in the first season was that less is more. We over planted quite a few crops, and had far too many courgettes, broccoli and squash. But hey - I'm not really complaining, it was absolutely delicious! But, this year we're only planting the one courgette plant.
Another takeaway from 2016 was this: Copy the direction of your plot neighbour's rows. We didn't take this into account and now realise that all our fellow allotmenteers plant their rows of veg in a particular direction so that as the sun moves across the sky, the crops get maximum, even sunlight exposure from the south. In general, you should sow in the same direction that your greenhouse or poly tunnel faces, in most cases this is East to West.
The poly tunnel was by far the most useful item for me on the allotment. I managed to grow melons (check out my unconventional melon slings!) and tomatoes in abundance. Particularly proud of the tomatoes as they were totally protected from blight which savaged mine and other allotmenteers outdoor tomato plants.
I hope you can learn or laugh a little from my own experiences during the first year!