Garden And Gardener

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What’s growing on your local allotments?

by Diane - April 30th, 2012.
Filed under: allotment.

What is an allotmentOn a TV gardening program recently they showed someone who had an allotment who only grew euphorbia on it.
To my mind this is wrong.
An allotment is for the growing of vegetables to feed your family. Yes, by all means have some flowers, they’re good companion plants in many cases and help encourage bees and other beneficial insects to your plot.
But dedicating a whole plot to a plant you can’t eat sounds wrong to me. It’s against the very spirit of allotmenting.

This led to a discussion with friends about how many plots people have. The majority of people have one plot, but on a nearby plot a family has two plots – the husband and wife have a plot each. This came about because of a lack of people on the waiting list – rather than leave plots to go to rack and ruin there are a couple of couples on a nearby plot who have a plot each.
Whilst it seems immoral when that sites waiting list is so huge, what’s the answer? Do you throw people off a plot that they have been growing on for years?
If they were growing lots of non-edibles, or growing things that they gave away then that would be wrong. It would be unfair for those people on the waiting list to not have a plot whilst someone had one that they used for ‘non-traditional allotmenting’.

I’ve been told about one man who has several plots and uses one for just growing pumpkins on. He gives them away. This strikes me as very strange! Why should he be allowed to have an extra plot that he doesn’t eat anything off?

The 1922 Allotment act definition of an allotment garden is “an area not exceeding 40 pole used wholly or mainly for the cultivation of vegetable or fruit crops for consumption by the occupier or his family”.

This is a fair definition for me. Why would you use an allotment as anything else? If you want to grow flowers then grow a few, but not a whole plot worth.

Some sites set percentages that may be used for non-vegetable growing – and this excludes any wild flower meadow that people might try to claim they grow.

There are some people who keep racing pigeons on their allotment – and that’s all they do. If you drive past allotments that look like shed-shanty towns then the chances are there’s some pigeons in there somewhere. I’ve read too about people having cooking facilities, running water and even beds in their allotment sheds. At what point do you draw the line?

If there were no waiting lists for allotments then the issue would be one of solely the land being used for growing something. When waiting lists are so high and full of people wanting to actually grow food then I think the plot-hoggers need sorting out.

How can action be taken without the clamp down being portrayed as mean in the press though? Perhaps there is a need for a campaign of ‘allotments are for growing food’ perhaps – to highlight the problems of waiting lists and those who do other things on their allotments.