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Talkback: Allotments: little and often

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  • We've had an allotment for 3 years , at first we worked really hard to dig out all the weeds and brambles before planting anything . The second year we planted loads and it all did really well but so did the weeds , we used to almost get in a panic about everything that needed to be done . Then we spoke to a fellow allotment holder and he said " It's meant to be fun , if you don't enjoy it what's the point ?" Since then we spend a couple of hours EVERY weekend doing what we can . The plots not perfect but it's thriving , looks loved and worked . Who cares if there's a few weeds here and there ...We love it and that's all that matters :)
  • I took on a big 10 rod plot in August. It's very exciting but equally daunting as it hadn't been cultivated for years. I would also recommend Lia Leendertz's book, The Half-hour Allotment. Little and often is definitley the mantra I am chanting to myself. Cover up the bits you're not working on and gradually move forward until it's all worked. Speak to other plot holders and the allotment committee for advice. I've found everyone to be very helpful.
  • We were on the waiting list for over six years before we got our allotment, so I don't feel sorry for those who don't use their allotments for years on end, and get letters and official warnings. I strongly agree it is a 'right' to have an allotment and to grow your own, and the social history of 'the landless poor' claiming the use of the land as theirs is fascinating - allotments are great social leveller, and bring together people from all different backgrounds. But those who regularly do not use this opportunity can be said to be abusing this right at the expense of others. The two ladies' who had our allotment before us had completely neglected it, so it took us a lot of very hard work and much time to get it into a condition where we could see the ground, let alone plant things in it! However, we love our allotment and, as two people who work full time and a lot of overtime, we are very happy with what we have achieved. We do as much as we can when we can, whether it is "little and often" or sustained bursts over longer periods of time. In my opinion both ways work, as long as you use the plot, and enjoy it. You can create regular habits as well as be creative: it's horses for courses!
  • Plants i hate periwinkle and ground cover i see it as lazy gardening.Ivy also is something i fight with
  • An Allotment, Is a great community builder. I think a lot of social problems would be eased If more people had one. Sounds deep, but I believe this to be true. I absolutely Love mine, and have made a really great bunch of friends whilst there, had It for 2 years now, people will always help you out, give you stuff, and share a cup of tea!
    I recommend it to anyone.
  • An Allotment, Is a great community builder. I think a lot of social problems would be eased If more people had one. Sounds deep, but I believe this to be true. I Love mine, and have made a really great bunch of friends whilst there, had It for 2 years now, people will always help you out, give you stuff, and share a cup of tea!
    I recommend it to anyone.
  • We have an "unusual" allotment, in that it is land that was once set aside for the farm workers of an agricultural estate in East Anglia, and is now given over to the villagers and other locals, we have a heavy clay soil, which can be really cleggy, yet also free draining, and i have just discovered that to grow brussels, there needs to be plenty of organic matter, which would account for why the last two winters mine have "blown". We have no mains water, but rely on the farmers manganese containers (1000 litres) to feed rainwater off of the adjoining schools' roofs, so the whole enterprise is fairly full of challenges and the weather's vagrancies, but since this recession and people's concern about where their food is coming from, the take-up of space has doubled, so enhancing the sense of community, but there is still enough space to feel a sense of privacy and contentment. Every success is a triumph, and every failure is something to work upon solving in the next growing season.
  • If you want to dig weedy or grassy areas for the first time turn the ground over before the winter sets in but don't bother to break it up. Let the frost do it for you. It will be a lot easier to dig in the Spring.
  • This is our third year on our plot and probably the first year we've been able to enjoy it. Apparently many people had taken it on, then given it straight back!! We have dug through layer after layer after layer of carpet and lino, and there is a whole section that we cannot yet use for root crops due to the broken glass, plastic and goodness knows what that is still in the soil. We have recieved warning letters in the past as it is a very large plot and although we had crops at the front, it did not ever look like we were actually getting anywhere with it...this year however, our hard work is finally paying off and we are now able to do little and often. OUr two pre-schoolers are enjoying there time there for the first year as well which is great as we're not contending with tantrums after 20 minutes, and our oldest has actually started nagging us to go every weekend morning. We still have a VERY long way to go, more beds need digging, old beds need maiking bigger, our fence needs finishing, and there is a whole section that is still matted off that needs clearing (i'm dreading what rubbish we will find as the previous occupant was a definite hoarder), but I'll advise anyone to keep with it as its a great feeling when you suddenly realise that you are actually achieving something!! Also, even if you do have to save up for 3 years for a shed like we did, trust me when I say a shed makes all the difference!!
  • i will have had my allotment three years in november and it was full of broken glass and nettles 6 foot tall,with wire and household waste all over. after a lot of hard work and time i can relax a bit and enjoy the rest of it. my tip would be little and often,dig four or five rows then find something else to do and it will be done in no time without the broken back
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