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so. i will be moving into a city centre flat next month, no garden. the council have kindly given me a list of allotment sites and numbers to call for them around the city. I have yet to take it further though as i'm not 100% sure whether it would be worth my while. i work full time and have other commitments during weekday nights, so in reality id have maybe all weekend and one weekend evening during lighter nights at the most to be on the plot. is this enough time, to make the most of the plot, in anyones experience? anyone with an allotment here, how often are you there/how much timer per week and what kind of return from the plot can you get? short, I would suggest not...........stuff will need watering in dry weather, weeds to hoe, etc. etc.

Perhaps you could team up with someone else and spread the work ? 

The return ( in terms of food I assume you mean ) is commensurate with the amount of work you put in..............for those with the time, it can be well worth the effort both in terms of money saving and eating home grown food.


Two orking friends both with allotments have told me that they've managed to keep on top of their allotments if they and partner devoted most of their weekends to them during the growing season - what they found difficult was reaping the harvest - lots of veg need picking every day in order to get them at their best, and beans and peas and courgettes etc stop producing if they're only picked once or twice a week. 


I have been an allotmenteer for 30 odd years and believe me it is very hard work, but I so love doing it.  When I had a full time job it was a struggle and with it being out of sight it can sometimes be a shock when you do visit to find everything but your vegetables have grown in your plot.  I would not like to put anyone off but be prepared to devote a lot of time to it.  As others have suggested you could always share a plot.

p.s. I am a female and still managed it on my own as well as all the other household duties!  Hubby does not garden and only helps by eating my results. 


After watching the allotment programme on tv It seems to me that those people manage to live in a totally different part of the country from their allotments, hold down full time jobs (presumably), have a family life, a social life (presumably), have time to go out for a manicure etc and still keep a full size allotment site in tip top order. 

It's obviously a piece of cake (which they also make in their spare time). 



As Dove has said you would need to consider what you plant very carefully if you cant visit it regularly during the growing season.

I would say that growing peas, beans and tomatoes would be a no, no. They require a lot of water and very regular picking.

For veg, root crops would be a better bet as they dont require as much water or picking so often, also some of the brassicas would be a good bet.

Fruit wise you could have some fruit bushes such as black/red currant and gooseberries which will stand for a few days.

Preparing a small plot can be done during weekend days, so it is possible but it depends what you want to grow.

there's no substitute for hard graft, but it's worth it.


Hi there pansyface. I don't have a TV but I was thinking along the same lines as your comments from the occasional programme I've seen when I'm chicken-sitting at my daughter's house.  It's the same with most practical things on the TV, large pinches of salt are an essential requirement.  I've had most sorts of garden from itsy-bitsy to half a field (and allotments).  Chief requirement djjjuk is a reality check, you will need a 'work ethic', enthusiasm, a sense of humour and someone to hold your hand when all else fails


My garden is always an utter failure. Would you hold my hand DorsetUK?


How about covering part of the site with a membrane of sorts and focussing on the remaining part? That way, you don't have so much work to do,and , if you feel can devote more time, remove some of the membrane and take in some more of the site? I think it's true to say , it's supposed to be enjoyable; if it becomes a chore, you'll give up. Start small and see how you get on. 


Hi pansyface. Only metaphorically unless you live somewhere handy to Dorchester.  I frequently have failures but as I've been gardening for some 60 years I just try some other plant or system.  I forgot to add you also need large doses of patience and perseverance to the advice for djjjuk.  But yes when something works it really does make it all worthwhile. 

Hi everyone, thanks for the comments and advice. it is exactly what i suspected it would be - i am more than prepared to put graft in, thats not an issue. the issue is the time in doing it. i have to be realistic and be honest with myself. im just not going to be able to do many weekdays, and even weekends i couldnt guarantee something else wouldnt come up.

there is another thread i have where there are city centre plots you can rent. they are expensive at £8 per month for a 2x1 metre raised bed, though if you take 3 raised beds it comes out at £5 per month per bed. still dear compared to an allotment but being about 20 mins walk away from where i will be i could devote more time to going there. before work, after work, lunchtime ... it would be much more convenient and obviously there would be less space so its more manageable. 

personally i eat a lot more salad, herbs and fruit than i do veg, which is also a problem as fruit needs quite a lot of space!

oh what to do ...

Without trying to be too rude I would suggest that you do some overtime and buy your salad etc. Allotments require more time than you appear to have available. Those raised beds you mentioned are expensive!

Djjjuk, what a dilemma, you sound as if you would really miss not being able to grow things of some sort. Good advice from everyone.

Can't add any more other than think a

 compromise to share an allotment, as suggested, sharing the workload and the produce. 



I read somewhere [and know by experiance] that allotments need a heck of a lot of water, with about 90% of it being perspiration.


oh poor djjuk, must be frustrating. (Im now also rather scared about my future plans to have a veg plot in my garden).  Is there not something djjjuk could grow that would cope without a midweek visit?  Eg gooseberries, rubbarb, blackberries.  then befriend a fellow allotmenteer with lots more time and the wish for more space, and offer him/her part of your plot in return for midweek help.

Victoria Sponge

Hi Djjjuk,

I lived in a flat before I moved into this house, and having had gardens previously I missed being able to potter around outside without purpose. You can do that in your garden, less so in a public space 

So I put myself down for an allotment ( without really having the faintest idea about what work/time would be needed) but moved again before one became available. I thought it would be nice to mix with real gardeners as well and learn some stuff.

If £ wasn't an issue I'd be tempted by the 3 for £15 beds- that's if it was a nice place to work in the city centre... and the place was secure so the plants wouldn't get trashed...


I'll just add, the value of the produce wouldn't equate to the cost of the beds- but I think I would choose that option for the fun.

Supernoodle wrote (see)

" Is there not something djjjuk could grow that would cope without a midweek visit?  Eg gooseberries, rubbarb, blackberries.  then befriend a fellow allotmenteer with lots more time and the wish for more space, and offer him/her part of your plot in return for midweek help."



What a good idea. You could then have a 'pick your own and swop' going with fellow allotmenteers! 






Are there any houses nearby with decent sized gardens that some people might be finding a struggle to maintain?  

What about an ad in a shop window offering to mow someone's lawn, cut their hedge, weed etc on a regular basis in exchange for being allowed to  grow veggies in their garden and share the produce? 

You could then tailor the growing space to your available time.