Do you have green fingers?
Do you love gardening but perhaps you live in a flat without your own garden?
Maybe you are renting a property and you cannot use the garden for your own use.
Have you ever thought about getting an allotment?
Some Allotment facts
- UK allotments can trace their roots back to Anglo-Saxon times c 5th Century
- During the 19th Century allotments were granted to give the impoverished community space to grown their own food.
- Currently there are around 330,000 allotments plots in the UK – but over 90,000 people on the waiting list
Granted they can take time to get as there are now long waiting lists. In the first instance you should contact your local council and check their websites.
The government website has a list of all larger local councils and contact details and from here you could add your contact details to find your local site
In Northern Ireland you will need to contact your local council as rules are slightly different. The National Trust can provide allotments on some of their properties and there are a large amount of private allotments.
Things to consider
What size plot could I get
The average size is around 250sqm but you could be offered a smaller plot if demand in your area is high. The cost is around £30-£50 per year for a large plot.
Ask about the history of the plot you are offered
When you are offered the plot find out who owned it before? How did they look after it? What veg did they grow and more important what veg did they grow successfully? Did they use compost or grow their veg organically
What about the soil
Is there going to be a problem with the soil? Check to see if it dries out or will it be always water-logged
What about amenities?
Do look and check if there is easy access to water – as otherwise you may have to bring water in your car.
Also check if you can have a shed or greenhouse on site to store your equipment, seeds, compost etc.
Is there good parking spaces nearby
You need to check that there is good parking spaces near the allotment you could be offered. Remember you will be bringing and taking a lot of gardening equipment with you. Plus taking home all your freshly grown vegetables!
Is the site secure
Do check to see how secure the site is. Ask is there someone on site at all times and if not how protected is the site. You do not want a site where there could be vandalism or stealing your equipment etc.
Having been on the waiting list for a while you may jump at the chance of getting your new allotment but ask yourself if you still have enough time to manage it.
Will you be able to commit time and energy on a weekly basis to visit your plot. Ideally the weekends would be the best times to be there. Are you free at weekends to do so
Could you work with a friend and share the plot/workload.
You could get the family involved as this would be a great bonding experience
What will you grow?
Just because you have the space you do not need to grow the veg and fruit you do not like. Only grow the veg and fruit you really love (and that is of course in season)
Make it fun
Finally remember it is a hobby and should be fun you must enjoy what you are doing. So try to manage a small successful plot and put your energy into that rather than having a large plot that you cannot look after.
I hope these few tips will help you if you take up an allotment. You will be so proud of your fruit and vegetables knowing they have been grown by yourself.