Forum home Fruit & veg

Back-garden Plot vs Allotment Plot

I have been on the waiting list for an allotment for a while, but yesterday I was offered a large plot of land in the back garden of a friend of the wife.

Now my question / dilema is will I be missing out on the comradery, community spirit  etc that you seem to get on an allotment site? or is it not really like that and its really moaning and backstabbing so I'm better off on a private plot

Many Thanks


  • Hampshire_HogHampshire_Hog Posts: 1,089
    I personally would go for the allotment, although it is very nice to be offered this land what happens if they decide to up roots or once you have put in all the effort of getting looking nice they decide they want it back?

    I know this is a very negative attitude but unfortunately these things do need to be considered.

    I have an allotment and belong to the allotment association we get together occasionally and have talks or a guest speaker, have our spring, summer and autumn shows also have one or two outings a year, then there are the stores open on a Sunday always a place to catch up and have a cup of tea and if your really lucky get a biscuit.

    Yes we do have the odd moaner that nothing is ever right for. But then you get that in life.

    "You don't stop gardening because you get old, you get old because you stop gardening." - The Hampshire Hog
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,876
    It depends. 
    1. Do you have any idea of how long you might have to wait for an allotment?
    2. What sort of state is the garden plot in?

    If 1. ages and 2. pretty good then go for it but have a discussion with the owner regarding expectations on both sides (Can you put in a shed/greenhouse/cold frames etc? Will they expect it put back how it was when you give it back, eg returfing if it's currently grass and you dig out beds for veggies? Probably loads of other things to think about too).

    If 2.  It's a jungle and will take months just to clear the weeds/brambles/whatever then I would think twice about taking on the garden plot (although there's no guarantee that an allotment won't be the same if/when you get one).
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • MrBloomMrBloom Posts: 3
    Thank you

    @[email protected] I'm 10th on the list for a local council allotment plot and have been on the list since January and I'm second on the list for a small private allotment site (some plot holders have been there for 30-40 years) so it could be a long wait

    The garden plot has been used for veg before but the last user had to give it up due to ill health and is now a bit overgrown but mainly grasses and weeds not brambles etc
    The owner is happy for me to put up a greenhouse or shed etc and I will have access through a gate so I can come and go as I want and will also have the use of water from the house

    @Hampshire_Hog Yours sounds like the ideal allotment site and this is what I fear missing out on, but are all sites like this, I haven't seen any allotment shops on any of our local sites
  • Hampshire_HogHampshire_Hog Posts: 1,089
    Have to say there does seem to be a vast difference in allotments some you just get your plot and that's it no water on site or anything, others have everything you can think of, depends on your local council and how proactive they are and if like us we having the garden association so get to have a good bit of input to the decision making over the ten plot sites in our area.

    "You don't stop gardening because you get old, you get old because you stop gardening." - The Hampshire Hog
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530
    edited June 2019
    I should imagine allotment holders are as heterogeneous as any other group of people, and it would be the luck of the draw whether you landed nice neighbours or nasty.  I had an allotment for 18 months.  The only conversation anyone seemed to want was to tell me I was doing it all wrong.  "You don't want to do this, you want to do that," without bothering to find out what I actually did want.  This was about 30 years ago, they couldn't understand why I was building raised beds!  Then I got a letter from the mayor, no less, saying that she had received letters of complaints about the weeds on my plot.  Not one person had had the courtesy to speak to me about it, let alone offer to help.  At which point I wrote and told the mayor what she could do with her allotment.  And if there was any social activity going on, I was never told about it.

    Sorry, I should have posted this on curmudgeons' corner!

    In your situation, I'd take up your friend's offer, but only grow annual crops as you don't know how long it will last.  When you eventually get your allotment, then you can plant fruit trees and currant bushes and an asparagus bed.

    Don't some neighbourhoods have schemes to pair up people on allotment waiting lists with people who can no longer work their gardens, or simply CBA?
  • B3B3 Posts: 25,257
    I agree. Don't do anything permanent and check with them each year after harvesting whether it's ok to grow stuff for another year. 
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,669
    Back garden every time, I have an allotment plot but if I had a garden the same size there's no way that I would want an allotment plot. The worst thing on an allotment is anti social behaviour, I speak as one who hasn't suffered too much with the old ASB but you always have to be aware that your allotment plot and all that is on it isn't secure for many hours of the week, the site that I garden on has had sheds burned down, produce stolen and sheds broken into. Also I have noticed that when you garden on an allotment site especially a big one like I have, every known virus, pest and animal knows where the fruit and veg is and consequently lives nearby. I can grow carrots in my garden without fear of carrot fly, not on an allotment I can't, we have pea moth, leek moth, carrot fly, flea beetle, I can grow rocket in my garden but not on the allotment, the leaves are peppered with flea beetle holes. No for me it would be garden every time, as for security of tenure an allotment is just as likely to shut down to build a supermarket or relief road as a neighbour is of moving house.
  • mrtjformanmrtjforman Posts: 331
    barry has mentioned a lot of valid points about allotments, I prefer my privacy growing fruit. Have enough competition with the birds alone.

    However I can see some downsides to growing in someone elses garden, some already mentioned, like what if they want their land back or decide to move. Things out of your control. Also how would you get access whenever you wanted.
    A plus side is that they might water your plants for you but the downside will be you will most likely have to share half your harvest.

  • TryingtogrowvegTryingtogrowveg Posts: 18
    edited June 2019
    why not start with the back garden until the allotment comes up as it could be years... and also gives you a head start in acquiring tools experience etc without being too precious . There's a lot that can go wrong at allotments and at least you know that things are secure, relatively . I had an allotment and went back to a kitchen garden approach. I'd like more space at times but it means thinking differently and tbh is enough at present. You may not like the site your offered at the allotment  as there's no guarantee that is well located or even workable in the first few months which can be really frustrating!...and then your left on the list again..besides you can establish perennials and other specimens and seedlings for when that opportunity rises. At least you will be doing what you enjoy now and getting in with it! You might even decide to run the two concurrently! Go for it! 

    Good luck!

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 3,267
    I'd be inclined to opt for the allotment. Providing you are prepared to abide by the rules the plot is yours for as long as you want it, on our site the expectation is you keep down the weeds, cultivate at least two thirds of it, with the rest of the area used as paths, pond, compost area, shed etc…. True most don't have a shop  but the garden won't have one. With an allotment you can plan long term, plant fruit tree's and bushes, .       
Sign In or Register to comment.