Lost the plot? How poor crops could lose your allotment
Last week an allotment holder lost their appeal against being evicted from their allotment. Do you find it difficult to keep your allotment up to a high standard? That’s if you can get one…
According to reports, after producing too many vegetables in previous years, Mr Rock of Hastings East Sussex had planted his plot with 11 pear, plum, apple, cherry and apricot trees.
He intended to make jam from the fruit to give to his neighbours, but he faced eviction after it was ruled that not enough of the space was devoted to ‘productive crops’.
As an allotment holder myself, it set my mind racing to the unkempt grass and weedy areas of my allotment and if I may soon be faced with an eviction notice when I next go.
Getting the most out of your allotment
In such a difficult year for growing, I have to admit that I (and many others) have been struggling to find the time (and weather) to keep my own patch ‘up to scratch’ and fully productive.
After eight years my plot has slowly evolved, incorporating a glasshouse, seating area, fruit trees and bushes as well as areas devoted to herbs and cut flowers.
I have probably no more than 30% of the total area devoted solely to growing vegetables these days. But by cultivating a mix of vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers I can ensure I am growing a suitable amount of seasonal produce so I won’t return empty handed on most trips.
Handing out excess flowers or jam is so much more pleasurable than forcing your glut of courgettes and runner beans on to reluctant friends and relatives.
What’s growing on?
Anyone who leases an allotment is essentially a tenant, and subject to a tenancy agreement similar to renting a house. Many sites will have restrictions on what can be grown on the allotment or the amount of land used for non-productive crops. Allotment holders must adhere to the rules specific to their area or face the possibility of eviction.
Thankfully, the rules for my own allotment site state that ‘plots leased to tenants must be cultivated (the physical working of the ground for the production of crops, defined as vegetables, flowers, fruit bushes, fruit trees and herbs)’. So other than ensuring my unruly plot doesn’t encroach on my neighbours enjoyment, I am hopefully gardening within my bounds.
With such long waiting lists for allotments in many areas, and few new sites being created, ensuring that all the available plots are being used suitably must surely be at the top of most allotment committees’ priorities.
Living in a city my allotment is the only space in which I can satisfy my need to garden, and I would like to feel I can grow whatever I like to make it both productive and attractive.
Do you think local authorities should have the power to dictate what, how or how much you should be growing on your plot? Or have they lost the plot when they start evicting ‘tenants’?
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