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Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Well I have a Plot - I think???

The Allotment Site if you click this link, then click the blue icon and keep clicking the zoom here button till you can see the customised coloured map of the site. Scrolling over each separate colour explains how the site has been divided.

Well what can I say, I have decided to take a plot but………………...

A little history on the plot, it’s triangular and up until five years ago it was completely overgrown following 25yrs of neglect (the yellow section has been rented out to the home owners that border onto it for quite a number of years. A couple who I believed lived in one of the house on its borders contacted the council five years ago to run and bring some of the site (the lower fatter end of the triangle) back into use.

The couple it seems shared the site with at least two other tenants and was slowly getting others interested hence the community type plot. The couple recently moved away and one of the other tenants now have their very well loved plot all to himself which is the blue section, he pays the council directly. The red section is for a father and son team whom I’m led to believe was also on the site for a long time. The community plots is the pink section and is now being split down into ‘very’ small individual plots between approx 8 people (including myself). I some how gather there might have been a bit of political battling when the couple moved out of the area although nothing was said directly.

Helen who I met today is now technically in charge of the red and pink bit, the total rent for that section is £50.00 which she pays to the council. All the potential plot holidaers of the pink and red section will give her money’s towards this cost once a year, she has not yet worked out how much every one will be paying or when. On asking I was told she was sort of volunteered for the post by everyone and is learning as she goes on how to a manage a site, there is no paper work and no committee, no policies, no guidance really except that the plot is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays 10.00am to 1.00pm, when the key holders are there. I have already said I would like a key as I would really like to put in 2 - 3hrs of work at least 3 - 5days a week over the next two months before the really cold weather sets in.

At the moment they are in the process of clearing the pink and red section of all the crops that needs harvesting so that the individual plots can be marked out properly. I’ll be joining them next Wednesday to help as the quicker I help now the quicker I could get my section and get it ready for planting next year.

There is no water on the site but one of the home owners whose boundary butts up with the site’s boundary kindly makes one of his taps available to the site when in use, so a few water butts are a definite necessity.

My possible plot size I believe maybe approx 30ft x 20ft, no where what I hoped for but should allow me to grow the things I desperately would like to grow for storage, such as spuds, carrots, beetroot, some squash and pumpkins, and a few more things. I can see right now that I would have to be very inventive on how I plan to grow there at the site and a lot of what I am already growing at home will stay at home more for convenience and to make space at the plot.

As the plot will be small I’ll dispense with raise beds but may still use pallet wood to mark out and contain the soil in the growing spots. The overall soil on the site is a yummy colour and the there is evidence that a lot of manure was ploughed into the site up until recently. The veg I saw them clearing out today were huge and quite impressive, so the soil is very fertile from what I can see. There is a plot shed for people to shelter from the elements and it already has communal tools for the site users to use.

Security is good and vandalism has not been much of an issue in the pass, when it has reared its ugly head the local community police has dealt with it swiftly and efficiently. It helps that is so over looked by home owners as they have a tendency to keep an eye out.

To be honest I was a little disappointed that I was not shown a spot and told that’s yours but the quicker I get stuck in and help them the quicker I will get my own. So that’s it really, I’m finally an Allotment Gardener.


  1. Congratulations Kella. I know how frustrating it is to be on a waiting list without knowing how long you will have to wait for. Hope you get your plot marked out for you soon so that you can really get to grips.

  2. congrats Kella...anything is better than nothing...I think you definitely need to be a key holder...after all you want to be able to go at your leisure not there' how much will you be paying a year??? I pay £6 a year for my bit of land but I really couldn't tell you how big it is...maybe I should measure!! Hope it all works out well...looking forward to seeing some pics so make sure you take your camera next time!!

  3. I am feeling the butterflies for you Kella. I am so pleased you got a plot, a little dissapointed that it is half a plot though (now you know why they don't have a waiting list). Are you paying £50 for the half. I think that is quite steep, I pay £30 for mine and its the size of a cricket pitch strip. The money takes into account the water bills, keys and other maintenance jobs on site, like fuel for the grass cutter etc. Different places charge different amounts, maybe worth checking what the average price is of other allotment plots in your area. Just ring the council up and they would give you an indication. I agree with you that you should have keys to the site too, rather than having to go over at allocated times. It might work okay now, but it won't work well always, so hopefully you will get your own set.

    Like Jo and A4You I am looking forward to seeing some pictures of before and eventually after!

  4. Congratulations Kella and welcome to the land of Allotmenteering. It may be a small plot but you will be able to get quite a bit growing in that space. Also you may get to take on a bit more if anyone gives their patch up. It's a good idea to have a key so you can go when you like.

  5. Thanks for all the congratulations everyone.

    Concerning the key, I texted the young lady this evening asking her to cut me one so I can receive it next Wednesday when I get there. As it really won’t work with me only getting there one day a week (Saturdays will be out for me, due to the kids drama classes). And like I said I want to get the bulk of the work done before the really cold days of winter set in as my youngest will always be with me.

    Cost wise it’s good, the £50.00 is for the entire pink and red end so it will be split amongst the plot holders, which should work out roughly £5 - £10 pounds per year, as she would like to raise money towards plot maintenance and improvements.

    Maureen I was thinking along the same lines re getting more if others give up theirs.

    Jo your post today which featured getting ready to plant spring flowering bulbs, have made think of acquiring a large bag to plant on my boundaries when I finally get some. These will be followed by calendula flowers to bring in the bees and hoverflies.

    The piccies will hopefully follow soon.

  6. Congratulations! This will be a life-changing decision. Take it easy and start off a bit at a time, and whatever you do, don't be tempted to use a rotavator. You start off with 100 weeds and you end up with a million! trust me!

  7. Hello Matron and welcome to my blog, thankfully the plots aren't to weedy, but the backends of all the plots in the pink side are very shrubby with dog roses, nettle and some bramble all relatively easy stuff to get out.

    Nope no rotavator for me and once the plots are properly marked out I think it will be up to each individual on when they will clear those out but for the most part each plot would really be approx a third clear of plant growth, so not to bad really.

    Thanks again for popping by.

  8. Well done Kella, wish you luck with this project.
    30' x 20' is enough to grow a lot of produce.

    Keep us posted eh ?

  9. Thanks for the encouragement Gary Jen and Ruby, I'll be sure to keep you all informed of my progress.

  10. Hello again !
    Thinking about your plot a bit more, and echoing the thoughts of other readers, this pricing structure does seem a bit steep. We pay just under £15 per 5 rods, thats about 150sq yards in laymans terms. I would check with the local council - most of them publish their allotment fee's on the web. The NSALG (National Society of Allotment & Leisure Gardens) may be able to provide more guidance too? I think there should be some ground rules too, including the point you raised about access and getting a key to the site. The idea of a neighbour providing water is all well and good, but what if they have to go on a water meter ? Surely it would be better to get the council to install a tap or two? I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm, rather make sure you don't get stitched up!


  11. Hi Gary Jen and Ruby, allotment prices sure do vary widely from plot to plot and from council to council and I think you are one of the luckier ones some of the prices I have heard some people pay per year are astounding and can get even higher if the allotments are privately owned.

    But our prices are quite fair I think for our area as a full size plot generally is just under £30.00 from my council.

    The £50.00 for the pink and red section is to be split between the individual plots when they are marked out and by my reckoning that will be 8 ways, which should work out at £6.25 per plot. I believe the site manager plans to round off the figure to £10.00 so to raise money towards site maintenance and improvements.

    The water issue as you say is ok at the moment but the site manager did say to me that once the plots are properly marked out and things have settled a bit she would like to get the council to connect the site to the water 'grid' so to speak.

    About the key I have text her once and spoke to her on Friday about getting me a copy. So we will see if there is one for me when I get there on Wednesday. If not I'll just have to squeak a little harder :)

    Thanks for the advice re the NSALG, if things become or start to become difficult I'll know where to turn.

    See you soon.



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