Laws of Gardening:
Other people’s tools work only in other people’s gardens
Fancy gizmos don’t work
If nobody uses it, there’s a reason
You get the most of what you need the least Arthur Bloch. Murphy’s Law
Allotments no longer have a ‘flat cap’ image: in fact, if current trends continue we may all want to be out there growing our own grub, urged on by the BBC and Gardeners World.
And don’t underestimate the size and resources of the allotment community - they have their own website www.allotment-uk.com and their own national representative body , the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners, www.nsalg.org.uk, who will help you realise your organic life style.
There is already an excess of demand over supply of allotment sites, but if you are interested then contact your local council to apply for an allotment near you. They will either allocate you a plot or, in many cases, add your name to a waiting list. www.gov.uk/apply-allotment
A new Editor for this topic page
Tony Rand, on of our users, has taken on the editorship of this page on Allotments. He writes:
"I already had some experience of growing fruit and vegetables but came to allotment gardening for the first time earlier this year. Retirement coincided with a move to a new home some 150 miles away and now I had the time available I was looking for new activities that would fit into the lifestyle we wanted to achieve.
So, I set out to find a vacant plot. District councils have overall responsibility for overseeing allotments but normally delegate site management to the parish councils. I found the contact details for the parish councils in our area and from then on it was a simple matter of exchanging emails to find a vacant plot.
You can follow the ups and downs and whys and wherefores of starting an allotment from scratch on my website www.agewhatage.com. I began work on the allotment at the very end of May, but even so managed to produce a reasonable crop of potatoes, beans and courgettes and at the time of writing (mid September) expect to start harvesting our first leeks in a couple of weeks time. It was hard work at first, but I did not expect to be reaping the rewards quite so soon. Financially, the value of what we have harvested already will comfortably exceed the first year’s annual cost.
Allotment gardening is not just about growing food and healthy exercise. Our Allotment Association holds regular meetings, and is an excellent way of getting to know people with common interests if you have only recently moved into the area. The cloth cap reputation of allotments is way out of date, and within our little association we have teachers, a professional artist as well as our own district councillor – a valuable contact for the future! The social benefits should not be underestimated.
Think of allotments as multi-cultural farming on a small scale and you can imagine how engrossing the whole process can become. The more you get into it the more there is to find out – soil preparation and fertilisation, rotating crops and selecting varieties, along with the challenges and opportunities of the site micro-climate.
Useful websites and links I have found are:
Suppliers of seeds and many other products of general use and good advice for gardeners.
Independent source of information on all aspects of vegetable cultivation and production.
There are dozens more websites providing information and so on, but these are the most useful ones. Also you might want to have a look at James Wong’s book “Grow for flavour”, available from Amazon at reduced price. But the best thing to do is just get started. Be warned though, allotment gardening can become addictive! "