September 5th and 6th at “The Legion” Prudhoe
Sometimes it plants the idea of having a plot of your own.
But before rushing down to the Prudhoe Gardeners’ Association Hut to apply for one, make certain that you are not just attracted to the IDEA of having a well-tended allotment garden. Be realistic, look at your motives and consider what is involved.
An allotment garden is, as the name suggests, a place where you ‘garden’. It is not a place to store unwanted junk. It is not a wild life reserve. It is not a reforestation area. It is a garden that needs regular cultivating, where the soil needs caring for, where crops need planting and tending, where weeds need to be removed. Pests and diseases need to be controlled.
All of this takes knowledge, physical effort, time and some expense. It isn’t something you can do when you have a spare moment from an otherwise busy life. Success is not instant – even the simple radish needs watering and time to grow.
Your crops won’t come clean and washed like out of the supermarket. You will have to plan your crops to match what your family likes to eat and understand that things are seasonal – you won’t have strawberries and raspberries off your allotment for Christmas or courgettes in February. In other words, you need your family to be on your side and to be willing to give a hand on the allotment sometimes even.
It’s harder than just mowing the lawn at home.
You will need Adobe Reader to view these as ever. We look forward to seeing you and your entries on Saturday 5th September and to everyone as visitors on Sunday 6th September to see who has won which prize.
70% cultivated for crops and 30% for utilities.
Let’s cover that area of 30% for utilities then. That would be your shed, your water butts, your compost daleks, your wheelbarrow and hosepipe parking space, your chicken runs and your pigeon crees. And yes the rule is 10 chickens only, no cockerels and no appeal.
What’s included in the 70%? Growing spaces include greenhouses and poly tunnels. Of course if you are not using either of them to produce crops of one sort or another then you can be falling below the magic 70%. If you are using them as storage space for all sorts of things that shouldn’t be found on an allotment then you will be in breach of the health and safety rules. And you will be required to cease and desist in short order please.
Of course there is some give and take for those who have just moved onto an allotment. If there’s a lot of clearing work to be done then of course allowance will be made. So long as the inspection teams from the committee can see that you are working hard to bring your plot under cultivation and growing as you go then there will be no problem. Should there be no signs of effort then questions will be asked.
If you are a long term plot holder and things are going downhill with less and less being cultivated then certainly questions will be asked.
Crops? Well if you grow show dahlias or sweet peas or other flowers those are crops. Fruit bushes are crops. All those things that you can grow in greenhouses and poly tunnels such as peppers, chillis, tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers, even melons and sweet potatoes are crops.
If you grow a border of flowers to encourage pollinators that’s fine. If you are pleading docks, dandelions, nettles and other weeds as a wild area that will not be accepted. There are plenty of these elsewhere locally. Neither will allowing your hedges to develop into something that requires forestry skills to manage be accepted as a wild life area.We have wooded areas around the town to cover that.
An allotment is a garden and you sign up to rules which say that you must cultivate it as such when you take on your tenancy. 70:30 seems a very reasonable requirement and gives you the chance to cover the cost of your rent and membership subs in produce to eat and enjoy.
Edit: it’s only 10 chickens, no cockerels and no appeal.
It’s not all the heaviest onion and the biggest leek or the poshest flowers in the way of classes. There are all sorts of classes – marrows, courgettes, peas, runner beans, tomatoes, flower arrangements, cabbages ….
It’s a friendly show and not just for the serious growers who want to win everything. It’s a friendly show to celebrate the achievements of the town gardeners. There’s a class in the schedule somewhere to let your produce look good. It’s a show where everyone can join in, make friends, admire other people’s produce and learn a little about showing. And it will allow you to get to know other gardeners in the area.
And at the end, if you are generous enough to let us auction off your entries you will have helped us to cover the costs of the show.