Getting started with allotment gardening
Renting an allotment in your community is a fun and inexpensive way to get involved in gardening. It’s a great opportunity to meet other people who share your passion for horticulture and a relaxing and social way to have fun with gardening without taking on the responsibility of a large plot of land.
Renting an allotment is an affordable hobby, offers a chance to get some exercise and spend time outdoors. If you’re a beginner an allotment is also an easy way to gain experience and enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own food.
Getting started is easier than you might think, and if you’re interested in your own allotment then read on for some helpful tips and tricks.
Finding an allotment plot
The first thing you’ll need to do is find an allotment plot that works for you. Most local councils offer allotments but depending on the area you live in there may be a waiting list. Start your search at the Government website – from here you can search for an allotment by postcode and find out what’s available in your area. The website will direct you to information about how to apply, costs and the estimated wait time for each allotment.
Don’t be intimidated if the waiting list in your area is several years; there is no harm in putting your name on the list while searching for other options, and in many cases circumstances change and you will have the opportunity to rent an allotment much sooner than expected.
It’s also possible to go private – there are many private landlords who offer allotments to rent, and may offer the chance to take one up right away. The National Allotment Society is a good place to start, offering tips about how to seek out private allotments in your area along with listings of members’ plot vacancies being advertised directly from the site. In Scotland, the Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society is also a good place to start as you seek out a private plot.
Once you’ve found an allotment arrange to go and view it and ask questions before you agree to rent. Be sure to ask about facilities – whether there is access to water and a safe space like a private or shared garden shed where you can store tools and equipment
Making the most of our allotment garden
There are a number of great resources online you can look to for tips on growing and how to make the most of your allotment garden.
The Royal Horticultural Society website is an excellent place to begin your search, and in addition to a wealth of resources on general gardening, has developed a section specifically catered to allotment gardeners. There is advice for getting started, along with tips for making the most of your plot whether you are taking over a badly managed allotment or starting one yourself from scratch.
Allotment Garden is another website devoted to this popular hobby, and has a useful forum you can use to ask questions and connect with other people who might also benefit from your own experiences. The website is also packed with other useful tips to help you get started and encourage you as you go.
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