An Allotment70:30 – that’s the basic rule expected of our Prudhoe town allotment holders.

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.