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A quick question for Allotmenteers?

Hi could I garner some views regarding allotment etiquette,

Which would you prefer on your allotment site, a person who was friendly and liked to join in with all the allotment activities but who didn't do much gardening preferring to let their plot lay idle unkempt and weedy or someone who didn't make friends easily kept themselves to themselves but had a very productive plot and kept the weeds down.

I know that the ideal allotment friend would be someone in between the two but if you had to choose between the two would you have a preference?


  • FruitcakeFruitcake Posts: 810

    The latter. A neglected plot is a wasted plot. What is the point in paying good money to grow weeds? I can do that in my own garden for free! 

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  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,687

    I have found allotmenteers to be friendly but somewhat taciturn. They are there to grow things and chatting too much cuts down on valuable weeding time (and with my fabulous crop of horsetails, weeding is all I ever manage to do). There is something beautiful about a field of little plots, with sheds in amongst the growing crops, and it would be a pity if they were overgrown.

  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,839

    The site is managed but people do neglect their plots whether they are good friends or relations of the committee I couldn't say. I'm sure other allotment sites have their fair share of neglected plots. I'll give you a for instance. my plot was completely neglected when I took it on, I was shown 6 or 7 other plots and only one could have been described as cultivated some were worse than the one that I took which was waist high in weeds at the time. This plot had been used for keeping chickens and storage of materials by one of the committee members who had decided to give it up but not before letting it go to weed, I was told by a long time plot holder that he couldn’t remember it ever being cultivated before. The person who had the plot also had the next one which he did cultivate but in a way that still had uncultivated areas of weed. Eventually the chap decided to also give this plot up, now this plot wasn’t offered to someone on the waiting list as it was in fair condition with a fruit cage and substantial shed and greenhouse but went to the son of someone on the site who since taking it on twelve months ago hasn’t done much more than scratch about on it moving slabs etc. In fact the fruit cage which was full of large juicy currants was left to rot on the cane, such a waste. The plot the other side was rented by a chap who I first set eye upon after six months of me having mine, he was a nice chatty chap who had no interest in gardening at all he even admitted that his idea of growing crops was to dig a space in the weeds and plant something then let it look after itself. He came a couple of times with the help of his sister in-law he managed to dig the plot over but the next year he paid for someone to dig it for him but never planted anything and it was unused for another 12 months. He only bothered with the bottom half of this full plot and the neighbour next to him had the top half which was occasionally mown couch grass for his chickens to run free on. As I say this site has a very active committee which raises funds has a good relationship with the local council and police, provide water troughs, have renovated a cabin for their own use, just got the council to provide a new access gate and the rent is £30 per full plot a year. The council officer inspects the site regularly but there are still unused and neglected plots which could be put to better use.

  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,687

    It seems a pity that those on the waiting list aren't being given a chance to take on plots that they may well look after a lot better.

  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,839

    I couldn't agree more, when I first considered taking on an allotment plot I thought it would be a place to get some exercise and grow food, little did I know that many plot holders are attracted to the allotment more as a social club, that's not to say that they don't also keep tidy productive plots but there are also people who due to work and family commitments can't spend as much time on their plots as they need to to keep them up to scratch as well as partaking in the social activities. I guess that I must be old school, the chap with the plot next to me which is half covered in couch grass has given his plot up due to ill health but told me that he intends to keep the gate key because he likes to visit the site to keep in touch with his many friend, this doesn't strike me as being wrong or out of the ordinary but I think that it sums up the whole thing of being more a social activity than a mainly gardening one. Perhaps this site mentality is an oddity in the allotment scene and not the norm?

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,819

    It must be difficult when a plot holder develops ill-health - maybe the committee etc turn a blind eye to things getting overgrown in the hope that the person will make a good recovery and return to keeping their old allotment as it used to be - but it must be hard to decide when to say, 'I'm sorry, but it doesn't look like you're going to recover so now you must give up the allotment' - a bit like the kiss of death for some people.  image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Katherine WKatherine W Posts: 410

    In my hometown my grandparents had an allotment from the city council, but the rule was that it had to be well used, because there were so many people in the waiting list that "no-gooders" (in a strictly horticultural sense, no reflection on the person's othr qualities) were severely discouraged. People were perfectly allowed to grow flowrs with their veggies, and some wediness was never a problem, but the plot had to be productive. When my grandpa died 3 years ago my granny tried on her own for one year, but then had to give it up. It was certainly sad, since she hardly ever goes out at all now, but even so, harsh as it is, I really think that allotments should be a place where people who have no land can have a chance to grow some healthy food. There are other venues for social interaction.

  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,839

    Personally I'm in favour of cutting plots in half or even smaller because 250 sq meters of ground is too much for someone who can't spend lots of time looking after it, this is even more true when there are people waiting for plots. As for people with ill health the site I'm on has had cases where elderly people are helped by other plot holders just so they can keep on top of their plots.

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