Allotment gardening provides a wide range of benefits to communities and the environment.
Apart from providing low cost food, they also provide valuable recreational opportunities involving healthy activity and social contacts. Allotments are significant to our green spaces and provide habitats for many forms of wildlife.
Allotments have evolved through a rich and varied history of social and economic change, the most notable being the 2nd World War where the public were encouraged to 'Grow their own Greens' and 'Dig for Britain'. The first legislative reforms date back to the Enclosures Act of 1845.
Taking on an allotment plot is not all hard work; it can have many advantages, providing fresh home grown vegetables, fruit and flowers for you and your family, free from artificial additives and at a fraction of that you would have expected to pay in a supermarket or greengrocer.
There is also the social side, meeting new friends with similar interests and enabling you to enjoy a healthy outdoor life with gentle exercise and a place to relax and unwind.
We have around 45 plots on our site but before you apply for a plot there are various factors to consider :
Do you have the time to spend on a plot - will friends or family help ?
Is the site near where you live ? If there is a distance to travel, you may not feel inclined to spend the odd bit of time to do that extra bit of weeding or digging that is needed to keep your plot in good condition ?
On the other hand, if you have to make a journey to your plot you may be more inclined to allocate yourself a set programme to work to. Are you prepared/able to spend the energy on digging and clearing weeds to prepare your plot ?
Have you got the commitment ?
It may take up to 9 months to grow vegetables. Will you be around to nurture your crops or to do the weeding while your crops grow ? If weeds are left they will destroy your vegetables and spread onto other plots as well ?
If you are often away from home during the main growing season - March-October, this may not be for you.
Please make sure that you understand what the plots are like-
How big the plots are and therefore how much work is required.
How easy they are to manage (good/bad soil, type of weeds etc)
What restrictions there on the site that you are interested in
(No sheds or greenhouses are allowed).
The results can be very satisfying when you harvest your own fresh crops - the taste is out of this world, but in the reverse there can be disappointments due to seeds not germinating, plant diseases, insect infestation, birds helping themselves, not enough rain, too much rain, unexpected frosts, etc.
If allotment gardening is for you, you won't have been put off by any of the points we have mentioned above. When you take a plot you can look forward to plenty of exercise working in the fresh air at your own pace. Allotment gardening offers a feeling of great well-being, both physical and mental.
You will be joining a small community of like-minded individuals of all ages who will welcome you and always be prepared to offer help and advice and share ideas on how to get the best from your plot. Whilst the main growing season is from March to October you can apply for a plot at any time of year. There's always a job to be done on an allotment plot!