Sharing gardens and vegetable plots

by James Alexander-Sinclair

Many people will have decided that the time has come to start growing their own vegetables [...] Be warned: it is an addictive hobby.

Vegetable plotChristmas is over and many of you will be shaking yourselves back to reality after a fortnight of lolling about eating chocolate. Gradually reality is returning. The urge to conquer new territory and learn new skills has perhaps come upon you. It is time to bounce into 2010 with a light step and the feeling that valleys can be crossed in a single bound.

Many people will have decided that the time has come to start growing their own vegetables. All those excellent Gardeners World projects and blogs about the healthy satisfaction of allotmenteering will have penetrated deep into your psyche and you will be itching to grasp a sturdy spade and start double digging. Be warned: it is an addictive hobby.

It all starts with a couple of pots with herbs, then maybe some tomatoes against a sunny fence, then part of a flower border and before you know it the garden is disappearing under a tsunami of produce. The next step is either to invade your neighbours' gardens (not something that is generally encouraged) or to find yourself an allotment.

Aaah...the space to indulge your quiet fantasies of cascades of cauliflowers, orgies of onions, buckets of beetroot and pantechnicons of potatoes. Maybe even a peaceful shed with primus stove and a battered armchair.

However, in order to turn this bucolic reverie into reality you need to find yourself a plot. This might be straightforward - I know of villages round here which have a number of empty plots sitting there waiting for some enthusiastic newcomer to make short work of the brambles and docks. But, especially in more urban areas, you may well find a long waiting list. At the moment there are roughly 76,000 people on waiting lists.

At the same time there are people around the country who have some spare land: maybe they are getting older and their gardens are too big to manage. Or they are short of time and want to share some space. Or they just don't like gardening. There is a website called Landshare, which aims to put these people - gardeners and landowners - in touch with each other. The premise is very simple: the rental usually consists of some spare vegetables or a helping hand.

So far over 40,000 people have signed up to the site so if you are desperate to find some space for vegetables. It is well worth a look. But remember: an allotment is not just there for sunny days!

Happy New Year.

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Talkback: Sharing gardens and vegetable plots
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Gardeners' World Web User 05/01/2010 at 19:28

It is you there isn't it? All this talk of vegetables is slightly worrying!

Gardeners' World Web User 06/01/2010 at 13:23

i grew my own for the first time last year and really enjoyed it, cant wait to start again.starting onion and carrot seeds in the greenhouse this week! it does get very addictive and has the added bonus of keeping you fit!it must be a sign of getting older.....

Gardeners' World Web User 06/01/2010 at 19:20

James - just when did you post your blog? My garden disappeared under 12" of snow yesterday & now my winter veggies are unreachable! Having ordered this year's veg seeds at the weekend, could be a while before I can do anything with them .... what was that about global warming?

Gardeners' World Web User 08/01/2010 at 09:31

well im itching to get in the potting shed, all my veg has disappeared too (underneath the snow)so havent got a clue how anything is doing. want it to thaw out now so we can get started!theres still loads of stuff you can get going on, i have seedlings in the heated greenhouse whatever the weather so its not so bad.

Gardeners' World Web User 11/01/2010 at 21:27

i have my first greenhouse arriving this week and i want to start growing straight away but dont really know what to grow or where to start any ideas or books i could read for beginners?

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