Thinking of renting an allotment?

Allotment gardening can be rewarding but don’t under estimate the amount of time and effort that will be required.

No doubt you’ve watched the gardening programs, heard expert opinions and applied for an allotment.  Then, after a long wait you have received the email or phone call. ”An allotment is available.”  Note the word ‘available’ NOT ‘ready’ you arrange to meet someone from the Committee and are shown to an overgrown area of land.  It’s nothing like the telly program!

Be prepared – no one will get your land ready for you, you’re on your own.  You just can’t see how you’ll be able to do it.  You are surrounded by plots which are lovely; fruit and vegetables in neat rows; no really nasty weeds of the variety clearly evident on yours.

Undaunted you sign the contract and the plot is yours.

Here is some crucial starting advice.  Understand immediately that you have taken an annual lease on an organic object.  This is completely different from leasing say – a beach hut or a caravan or a seat at Wimbledon.  These inert objects will wait for your presence without deterioration.  Your allotment will not.  It needs constant attention.  If you do not/cannot factor time for your allotment into your life style, then you are wasting your time.  Don’t even start.  You have programmed in failure from the word ‘go’. You will constantly be in the bad books of the Committee who carry out site inspections.  The Secretary will write a series of letters culminating in the termination of your tenancy. Soon afterwards, someone exactly like you will be looking at the same piece of land which will, by now, be in an even worse state.  The cycle begins again!

Cultivating even a small plot takes quite a lot of time and effort. The television programmes tend to make it seem so easy. In reality a minimum of an hour per rod per week will be needed (more than this in Spring and Summer and less in winter) but nevertheless getting out whenever the weather is suitable should be your aim. Having an allotment is not a fair weather only pastime.