Should I get a allotment?

Discussion in 'Allotments Discussion' started by Jasmine star, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. Jasmine star

    Jasmine star Gardener

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    Hello, I've been thinking over the past year if I should get a allotment. I'm a keen gardener. I grow mainly ornamentals at home in my garden which I really enjoy. This year I did try a few vegetables but left it too late in the season and don't have a decent greenhouse (just a pop up one for seeds and cuttings) so this would be something I'd like to try. I'd also like to grow some flowers for cutting for home and gifts for family and friends. I have time as I'm at home. So today I rang our local allotment manager and they have 1 plot left but she said it's in a state :yikes: when I asked how bad a state she said its covered in 6ft weeds. Ok that doesn't sound too bad :dunno: does it? She said they would strim it if I were to take it. Its 60ft x 15ft and I'm going to see it tomorrow. So the question begs am I living in a dreamland and what is expected from you as a allotment keeper.
    Any advice appreciated.
    Thanks in advance :dbgrtmb:
     
  2. ricky101

    ricky101 Total Gardener

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    Hi,

    It can be a lot of hard work getting such a plot back into production, but as its the end of the growing season you should have many winter months to get the ground cleared and dug over.
    Will you have anyone to help you over this initial clearance?

    If it looks too much, is a half plot possible, either officially from the society or just a friend of yours helping out / doing their own half ?

    Think it all depends if the general aspect of the plot is good and what the rest of the site feels like, good and safe and friendly ?

    Alternatively, without knowing your garden, is there any way you can increase its productivity / add a greenhouse etc ?
     
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    • Jasmine star

      Jasmine star Gardener

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      Hi @ricky101 thanks so much for the reply. I would have a little help if needed but I don't mind getting stuck in and I'm not shy of a bit of hard work. I thought the same about the time of year now being ideal to prepare for spring. The allotments themselves seem very well ran and has good reviews. Obviously I'll know more tomorrow but I'll definitely look at the safety and see what reception I get whilst having a look tomorrow. Sadly non of my friends/family garden. They think I'm mad ha! I don't have much scope at home to grow much more than ornamental or sadly the space for a decent greenhouse but would be happy to put one on the allotment if that's ok. I was a little concerned of what would be expected of me as a holder but from what I'm reading on here today most people seem to be left to tend as they please?
       
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      • ThePlantAssassin

        ThePlantAssassin Gardener

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        I looked into getting an allotment as would love more space. I planned om flowers in my smallish garden and fruit and veg on the allotment. I think the rule of thumb on allotment rules is you are expected to keep it tidy and actually use it because the waiting list is usually sooooo long. I didnt have a problem with that but what changed my mind was the amount of money it would cost to get it up and running. I checked out the cost of a greenhouse and a shed and the cost involved in having them erected and then all the extra tools and that was before tallying in the cost of plants. Unfortunately it was just beyond my reach. Good Luck with whatever you decide.
         
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        • Nikolaos

          Nikolaos Super Gardener

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          Hi @Jasmine star, I don't know your circumstances and it's your decision of course, but they can be hard work. You just have to keep them reasonably weed-free and cultivated, really. But I would suggest just having half the plot as that's rather large. I had a 145 square metre plot until recently but had to give it up as I simply lack the time and energy to maintain it. Better to have a smaller, manageable plot that is enjoyable than a larger one that feels like a bit of a chore at times IMO. :) You'll get a better idea of what you're capable of maintaining after a while and can always take on more land if you want to.

          Nick
           
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          • CanadianLori

            CanadianLori Total Gardener

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            @Jasmine star that sounds like a great opportunity! You can get a greenhouse kit (I have Palrams) and put it together yourself. I did my three on my own. And if you have to do things like rototill, you can always rent those for the occasion.

            Our allotments are pitifully small (6x16 feet) else I would have gotten one of those too.

            I hope you take pics tomorrow and if you go for it, as you work on it. Sounds so exciting!
             
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            • JR

              JR Chilled Gardener

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              If you like fresh veg and you want to be sure that no chemicals have been sprayed on them, then an allotment is good.
              Our freezer is packed with runner beans from this years allotment crop.
              We've also been happily munching cabbages, beetroots, carrots, dark kale, etc and my savoys are already like footballs.
              I use rotted horse manure and top dress with blood fish n bone. The plants are too vigorous to be attacked by pests generally and they are all from seed (although i bring them on at home mostly as plug plants and i net them)
              I like the allotment and whilst they are hard work at first, it's so much easier once you've got it under control.
              Half size is a good shout, I'd ask if they'd be prepared to split it, or ask for someone to share.
               
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                Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
              • Jasmine star

                Jasmine star Gardener

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                Thank you all for your comments and taking the time to help. :love30: I really appreciate it. Obviously I have a lot to think about. I'll definitely take some photos tomorrow and see what a state it's in and go from there. Problem is I'm a nightmare for a challenge :whistle: so this could go either way :heehee:
                 
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                • Nikolaos

                  Nikolaos Super Gardener

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                  Don't feel too discouraged, Jasmine. :) You asked for advice and I think contributors here are just offering thoughts for consideration. You could always approach it the opposite way from what has been suggested, take on the whole plot for a year and then give half up if you find it overwhelming. As @ThePlantAssassin says, there is usually a huge waiting list and if you're transparent about any concerns of it being too much the allotment manager will probably appreciate your honesty and pragmatism.

                  Nick
                   
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                  • Alisa

                    Alisa Gardener

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                    I would say yes, if you want to grow organically (ok, as far as it's possible - you never know what was there in the soil before you start). And it's important to find out how safe the place is. I would feel insulted if all I did was stolen or damaged by someone.
                    I walk past allotment area at ours nearly every day. There are long waiting lists for allotments, but you barely see a person there. Nothing growing there. What's the point of people keeping allotments and not spending time there (it was all the same before lockdown)?
                    And I would suggest only mechanical deweeding. It's horrible how much litres of weed killers are poured by people on their weeds. I don't understand the point of growing your own veg after this. The same can be bought at the shop at cheaper price.
                     
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                    • Jasmine star

                      Jasmine star Gardener

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                      Ok so I went this morning and met the allotment manager (a lovely lady) :yes: I spent 2 hours talking, going all around the whole site and asking lots of questions. The plot is big. Its had nothing done to it for a few months as the last person had lost interest. The manager had put 2 large tarpaulin sheets on half of it to cover some of the weeds. The plot is mainly covered in weeds which she is having strimmed this weekend. I'm not daunted by the weeds at all so will take my time over the next few weeks clearing it up. Theres a apple tree on the plot which has to stay (I'm glad) as it's old and they try to keep them. The allotments themselves are safe with cctv and locked gates and theres always a manager there. Theres good facilities including somewhere to make drinks, toilets and lots of water taps around. There is also a well stocked store where all kinds of feed, tools e.c.t and a farmer who brings manure you can buy. The plots are checked monthly by the council too. Theres lots more like competitions and plant sales that take place if you want to take part. So here my journey begins. I've signed my life away for the next year :heehee: I'm very excited.
                      20201016_114855.jpg20201016_114835.jpg20201016_114817.jpg20201016_114814.jpg
                       
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                      • JR

                        JR Chilled Gardener

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                        What great facilities!
                        Well done, I'm sure you'll have some good times there, and good veg to look forward to.
                         
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                        • john558

                          john558 Super Gardener

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                          :wow: That sounds great I bet you can't wait to be started. Good luck and please post more pic as you progress.
                           
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                          • Jasmine star

                            Jasmine star Gardener

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                            Thank you @JR I hope so. I think I've been very lucky :dbgrtmb:

                            @john558 I can't wait and thank you, I'll definitely pop some pics up with the progress :dbgrtmb:
                             
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                            • Scrungee

                              Scrungee Well known for it

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                              They do that at one of our local allotments, and this is what happens, all the weeds are cut down to release many thousands of their seeds all over the plot.

                              IMG_20201017_174732411.jpg

                              I've cleared several overgrown plots, all of them worse than the example above and 2 of them requiring using my brushcutter and chainsaw.

                              Have you checked how it looked a couple of years ago using Google Earth? If you have Ordnance Survey maps online, their satellite image will be even older.

                              Overgrown plots full of weed seeds can be managed with the right techniques, but they can be hard work.
                               
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