Getting Your Own Allotment4th September 2017 • Stephanie's Blog • Stephanie Donaldson
It’s a good idea to scout around your local area to find the nearest site – ideally within walking distance. This isn’t always possible, especially in urban areas, but getting there should not be a hassle, or you will quickly lose interest. Local councils own most allotment sites, so they should be approached to find out what is available in your area. Whilst it is true that many allotment sites have waiting lists, many don’t – I think we have passed peak-allotment when they became THE thing to have. I suspect many of those who rushed to rent then discovered that it was far more work than they expected and that an allotment requires regular care if it is to be productive. Back then we had a list of over 20 waiting, now we have none and there are plots available for immediate rental.
Unless you are very lucky and take on an allotment that has been carefully nurtured, the chances are that you will be fighting the weeds for the first couple of years at the very least and some plots will be submerged beneath brambles and couch grass. Plot sharing can help with this and most sites offer new allotmenteers this option – it is an excellent and less back-breaking introduction to a neglected plot. Informally (i.e. not through the council, but by visiting the allotment site) it is also worth checking if anyone with an established plot would like to divide it – circumstances change, ill-health may mean it gets too much, or children leave home and the need for all the produce diminishes. Rather than give up the allotment, they will often welcome a newcomer who is prepared to share the work and the produce. Allotments are a precious resource, not only as a place to grow your own food, but also as somewhere you can spend time outdoors amongst likeminded people, exercising your body, calming your mind – literally earthing yourself.