Crop rotation
Crop rotation is one of the most important tasks a plot holder should undertake. Click here for advice and a crop rotation diagram.

Grow comfrey
Cut comfrey leaves 2 or 3 times a year. Put the leaves in piles to attract slugs away from your crops. Put leaves on your compost to add nitrogen to the heap. Potatoes love comfrey - put leaves underneath the tubers when planting. Comfrey can be used as a poultice for bruises. Comfrey, when in flower, attracts bees.

Make comfrey tea
Comfrey leaves dipped in a barrel of water make the best liquid feed. Place the leaves in a sack (eg a nylon onion sack) and immerse this in a barrel of water. After about 6 weeks the liquid (comfrey tea) should be ready. Remove the sack and place the residue on your compost heap. When using comfrey liquid, dilute 1 part juice to 10 parts water.

Aphids away
Roses attract aphids away from fruit. Garlic grown around roses repel aphids. Marigolds attract hoverflies, which eat aphids; they also repel aphids, who probably know this!

Smoking is bad for tomatoes
If you smoke, do not touch tomato plants without washing your hands as nicotine is poisonous to them.

Blight beater
If your plot suffers from blight put a one sided sloping tent of plastic over the haulms. The rain then slopes down taking the spores away from the haulms. This also applies to tomatoes, which are the same family. Alternatively you could spray the leaves of both plants with a copper fungicide, in June and August.

Pots for free
Old yoghurt pots are ideal for single sowings such as melon, cucumber, courgette, etc. Large plastic containers that have held mushrooms or meat are ideal for sowing beans or other long rooted plants.

Long carrots
If you want really long carrots, add sharp sand to the soil before planting.

Thinning out, part 1
Sow seed thinly and when thinnings are big enough to eat, pull them and leave the smaller plants to grow on. That way, there will be no wastage. If you wish to avoid thinning carrots and disturbing the roots of the remaining ones, you can pinch out the thinnings you don't want, without pulling them up.

Thinning out, part 2
Another way to save yourself the tedious task of thinning is to sow your carrot seed in cardboard toilet roll tubes, say two seeds per tube. Take out the smallest plant when both have germinated. To plant, simply dig a little trench the same depth as the tube, stand them all side by side and then earth them up. Plenty of water is required to ensure the cardboard rots quickly.

Spuds under plastic
To save work, grow early potatoes under black plastic. Water the area thoroughly before planting and then sow the tubers through slits at 12in intervals. You will not need to earth them up and you can take the largest potatoes from each tuber without digging them all up, replacing the plastic each time. You can't do this with maincrop potatoes because they have a longer growing season and need more water.

DIY veg cage
If you need a makeshift vegetable cage, put small plastic bottles on tops of canes around the area you want to protect and cover these with netting.

Top tip for rhubarb
When you cut the leaf off the stalk, leave a short section with the leaf veins still on it. This way, if it's a few days before you use the stalk, it'll be the veins that dry out not the end of the stalk which you'd end up having to throw away.

Keep butterflies off your brassicas
To prevent butterflies from laying their eggs on your brassicas, immerse rhubarb leaves in a bucket of water for about a week. Use the concentrated water and spray or water using a rose onto your brassicas.

Scab-free spuds
To prevent the risk of scab on your potatoes, rake in sulphate of ammonia two weeks prior to planting. This reduces or negates any lime residue in the soil.

Beans 'n' bees
Sweet peas grown in amongst runner beans will not only add colour, but will also attract bees that will pollinate the bean flowers to set them.

Perfect parsnips (maybe)
If your soil is heavy and you want to grow good parsnips, dibber holes 9in apart, fill with compost and then sow the seed on top of this, covering with more soil. Sow at least four seeds per station and thin out to the strongest plant, as germination of parsnips is known to be poor.

Use less seed
To save seed, swede and turnip can be sown in single modules so long as you transfer the whole module to the soil without root disturbance. This can also apply to beetroot.

Eye protectors
Canes can cause serious injury to your eyes if you don't see them when bending over. Cover the cane tops with small plastic bottles - they'll protect your eyes, and they make a pleasant rattling sound in the breeze.

Rodent repellent
Mice love to eat pea and bean seeds. To deter them, soak peas and beans in paraffin prior to planting. Alternatively, sow in trays and wait for germination before planting out.

Down the tube
For individual sowings of beans, use cardboard toilet roll tubes. When the plants are ready the tubes can be planted directly into the soil without root disturbance. The cardboard will rot down.

Slug stopper
Slugs hate mint and chives, so a few small pots could be placed among vulnerable plants.

World's cheapest cloche
Empty lemonade bottles make excellent cloches for individual tender plants. Just cut the bottom off and cover the plant.

Shred this one yet?
Shredded paper acts as an excellent weed suppressant and moisture retainer. Make sure you have watered the plants before placing the paper around them. Lawn clippings will do the same thing. Shredded paper can be added to the compost heap to absorb excess moisture.