BRITAIN’S ALLOTMENT shortage could be solved by carving them up into a greater number of smaller plots, says Charlie Dimmock.


Former Ground Force presenter Charlie, who has filmed a TV series on allotments, believes dividing plots into quarters would not only create more allotments, but also encourage more people to take up allotment gardening.

“A lot of plots are way too big for the average couple and if you halved them and halved them again, that would be more practical for many people,” she said.

Charlie added: “I’m not suggesting throwing people off existing plots, but if a plot comes up, split it into a combination of allotment sizes to suit those who are going to be there either every day, three times a week, or one day over the weekend.”

Allotment-holders used to grow potatoes on half the plot to keep going all winter but nowadays people tend to buy their basics and grow more exotic things – which means a lot of the plot lays fallow.

“You used to fill up your freezer with runner beans. I’d string them as a kid for hours but how many people do that nowadays?

“Now people want fresh and exotic, but if you grow three plants of fresh chillies you have too many.

“People with big plots are ending up covering half in matting to suppress weeds.”

She believes gardeners should be encouraged to go back to growing greater quantities of traditional staples like beans, potatoes, leeks and cabbages.

“Home-grown tomatoes taste way, way better than they do when you buy them – so use the allotment to top up your basics.”

  • Charlie  revealed she had turned down the chance to appear on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! – but would love to appear on Strictly Come Dancing.

  • Sean James Cameron

    “Charlie Dimmock should stick to dealing with garden ponds and refrain from commenting on subjects which she clearly knows nothing about. Having spent time filming on allotments she now seems to be an authority of the allotment world.

    Ms Dimmock suggests allotments should be “halved and halved them again”. What can you do with a quarter plot? With a plot that size you are just playing at growing veg.

    People up-and-down the country still rely on growing their own food because they have to. In this uncertain financial climate the produce from an allotment is being relied upon more and more. If plots are reduced as Ms Dimmock suggests, then this wouldn’t be enough to feed the family dog let alone the family.

    The problem is that councils are very slow at dealing with unused or difficult tenants. If the process was shortened and new tenants allocated plots sooner then the waiting lists would drop dramatically.

    I’ve seen allotment sites in London where half the site is empty and covered in brambles. Now you could blame the new plot holders for not wanting to get stuck in and do the hard work of stripping the land of weeds, but local authorities could help by at least using brush cutters to make plots more appealing.

    We should be encouraging people to take on allotments and Ms Dimmock should not be suggesting such ridiculous proposals.”

  • Dab Alden

    Many Allotment associations already offer allotment plots of various sizes. The 10 rod plot is still a good standard as it can feed 2 adults and 2 children. The Scots have written the 10 rod plot as there default size in law although smaller sizes can be requested. The real problem isn’t plot size but the loss of inner city plots when the land becomes to financially tempting to developers and cash strapped councils.