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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.
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!!