AG readers share the delights of allotment growing and their frustrations when it comes to bureaucracy and red tape
Since AG ran several news stories about the waiting list for allotments and the amount of potential growing land lost to housing developments and road building, we have been inundated with letters from allotmenteers telling their stories.
National Allotment Week seemed the appropriate time to share them with you.
Pat Runciman from Solihull in the West Midlands said: “With retirement in sight a few years ago I put my name on the waiting list for an allotment in my local area and was lucky enough to secure a half plot two years later, six months before I retired.
“Since then, I have not looked back and love every minute I spend there, come rain or shine. It has kept me sane during the lockdown being a bolt hole to escape to, easy to have socially distanced conversations with my neighbouring plot holders and a wonderful diversion from the anxiety of the current situation.
“The delight when it comes to harvesting crops and reaping the rewards of earlier labours is second to none.”
Pat added: “Hopefully one of the good things that may come from dealing with this awful virus is the awareness of how beneficial allotments (and gardening generally) can be to the country’s health, both mental and physical.”
Another correspondent was Rebecca Horsman-Johnson, the spokeswoman for Greystones Allotments in East Cheshire.
She mobilised her fellow allotmenteers to successfully protest against local authority plans to build up to 20 houses on their site, a project that would include moving the allotmenteers to another, poorer site with drainage problems.
The protestors said that so many houses would diminish local green spaces and biodiversity, would lower local air quality due to increased car numbers at the housing development, which would lead to a busier road that already had dangerous turnings.
The protestors won and beat the councillors down to building ‘just’ three houses instead.
Rebecca, a former mayor of Poynton in east Cheshire, said: “Since the lockdown our allotment has transformed from being a plot of land that no one wanted to do anything with to a fantastic 10-plot transformation where everyone has worked and working so hard to prove a point.
“Everyone who has an allotment here says how much they value having a space. During lockdown, the allotments provided somewhere we could go, outside, for a change of scene and to do something beneficial for our mental and physical health.”
Let’s keep gardening!
One of the great things about lockdown was that more people discovered the joy of gardening and growing things and we greatly hope that this won’t wear off now that ‘normal’ life has resumed.
This blog is an insight into what the AG team is up in their gardens, what we like to grow, what we pick and harvest, what’s worked for us and what hasn’t – because like everyone, things go wrong for us too!
Our gardening ‘agony uncle’ John Negus is also still working hard. Send him your problems and questions, with pictures if you can, and he will get back to you with an answer within 24 hours, as he has been doing for decades. Contact him using the AG email address at: email@example.com
We already have thriving Facebook page but are also on Twitter and Instagram. These sites are a brilliant way of chatting to people, sharing news, information, pictures and just saying hello –we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Best of all, as gardeners are generally lovely folk, more interested in plants, hedgehogs, tea and cake than political shenanigans and point-scoring, so the chat is friendly and welcoming.
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So please drop by, follow us, ‘like’ our posts and say hello –we will reply as soon as we can. Happy gardening!