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Talkback: Allotments: little and often

i have justngave my allotment up after 8years offun and hard work.hope its the right desision,things change and other things come along i now have lovely grandkids,and a nice caravan so i will now spend my time with them,but i will miss the garden.


  • If you take on an allotment you must make time to work on it. There are no soft or easy options. But dont do it to the exclusion of everything else, otherwise it becomes an obsession and you will loose a lot of the benefit it brings to you no matter how big your onions are.
  • After years of struggle with my 'artisitc temperament' and lots of threatening letters from the allotment society, I was saved by a book by Lia Leendertz who writes in the Guardian. She realised that lots of people wait ages for a plot then give it up after a year as they feel overwhelmed. Her solution is that you to go to the allotment with a planned job, 5 times a week, and work for half an hour. You don't do any other job. Then you don t feel overwhelmed and it becomes a virtuous circle. It really worked for me, and the half hour gradually turned to several hours. Highly recommended.
  • I have had those letters - the bad time is always May/June when the weeds grow a foot a day! I grow everything in beds and that is brilliant because I can clear or plant one bed and see what I have done - rather than the daunting whole plot. It pays to keep it tidiest near the path where the inspectors will walk! They won't necessarily go on to the plot! I often go for half an hour where I used to think it just wasn't worth it. Little and often.
  • We took over our large plot 2.5 years ago. It was full of brambles, nettles, bindweed & dock. But gradually by digging just a bed at a time - double digging to get rid of all the weed problems we've now cleared about 2/3rds of it. All those beds need now is a quick fork over before planting and a quick race round with a hoe after planting to keep the annual weeds down. We've found the best way is to dig 1 or 2 new beds in the winter (during any dry patch of weather)when most stuff has died down and cover the rest with black polythene, cardboard etc. It's not so daunting. Anyway, there's enough to do in the spring & summer looking after the crops and admiring your handywork without trying to dig new beds.
  • i have an allotment in northwood kirkby nr liverpool and when i started a year ago ther was five girls and two lads and a old woman on it there is a 30ft polly tunnel on it i have two plots one veg and the other is flowers with a pond on it the girls that run it dont cume any more the pollytunelwas empty all summer and no one came they maid an aperance a few times in the summer but done nothing the only time they cume is when the council comes thats sad thir is sevin plots on the allotment and alot more ground out side which they whont fore football i think they could be more allotments but the girls say no it is sad ther is a waighting list for allotments why carnt the council see past ther noses ther is a two hundread waighting list for an a allotment in knowsley in all the other allotments if you dont turn up for a few weeks you lose the plot and sumeone else gets it in this case that dose not hapen thats sad becouse the plot could go to sumeone that whonts it thats sad becouse i no that will not hapen.
  • Fortunately I have never received a letter terminating my garden plot and if I did it would be devastating. But I am a guilty one for feeling overwhelmed for at least half a growing season. My plot is nearly over run by weeds while fellow gardener's plots look neat and their flowers and vegetables grow to publishing worthy size and color. I usually start out well but by mid season I feel that everything (task) is an urgent one. I vow every end of growing season that it will be better the next and I will be more organized and I seem to fall short. In 2010 I am again hopeful and will remember what worked and what did not and try again which is the wonderful thing about gardening, you get to wipe the canvas clean and start again in the spring.
  • Hi, speaking as the Chairman of a Birmingham Allotment Association, may I just state the case from the "other" perspective. I absolutely hate having to send letter out, and "chastise" people, as though they were naughty kids. It's the least pleasant aspect of the role, but all to often one that has to be done. Of course there are times when for perfectly legitimate reasons people cannot commit the time for family, work or other reasons. Such mitigating circumstances always have allowances made for them and rightly so. However, there are the terminal offenders, who seem to regard their rented plot of land as though it were some 'family bequeathal from a favourite aunt', that is theirs by right and must be hung into at all costs - usually this regretably only entails committing to an afternoon's digging once every 3 months, to be seen to be doing something! Meanwhile, every week new people ask what the waiting list's like, or, if they're on it already, then have they moved up the list. Not to mention the poor unfortunate neighbours who are forced into complaining, justifiably, about being overrun with weeds, when all they want to do is grow some fruit and veg. That's the really difficult bit, knowing there are committed plotholders and would-be plotholders desperate to have a go, but meanwhile some people who have never and will never make a go if it hang on stubbornly (and dare I say selfishly) to a weed ridden strip of land. The thing is, it's not even that easy to lose a plot once you have it! It takes three warning letters over 3 months and if on the very last day you turn up and dig a few square meters over, the Council will say that's enough and you go back to sqaure one! So don't feel too sorry for those who end up losing their plots, they really must've done nothing for a long time! Instead, spare a thought for the desperate folks patiently waiting!
  • i wish ther was sume one reeding this from the allotments for the mersey side allotment becouse that dose not hapen in northwood kirkby allotments
  • I am a very keen Gardener and would love nothing more than an allotment of my own. The only problem is I know through working in Horticulture on a daily basis that it takes a lot of spare time and dedication to keep it up to scratch - something I just dont have time for anymore. 'Grow your Own' campaigns have had a positive response from the general public, however some people arent aware of how much time and effort it really takes to keep the plot going. Maybe they should be made aware when taking it on- much like the 'Dogs for life not just for Christmas' campaign!!....
  • I find your post on "allotments" interesting. I am from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, USA. Sorry, but wasn't aware of such a thing as allotments. Sounds like a good way for those that don't have the land or area large enough to garden to be able to do so.
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