Dig in!

We’ve been on the waiting list for an allotment for almost three years. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, I’ll try to give an explanation.

Here in the UK many local councils have areas of land which are divided into “plots” and rented out to people to allow them to grow their own food. They are a great way for people to grow their own produce even if they don’t have a garden or enough space for growing. Some allotments also allow you to keep bees, goats or chickens too. The yearly rent is very low too and the plot is a fairly good size.

Unfortunately, a lot of land is being (or has already been) sold off to developers and the number of allotments has decreased dramatically. There is such a demand for them too and waiting lists for plots are increasing rapidly.

If you’d like to know more there is plenty of information at the Royal Horticultural Society website and the aptly named Allotment Vegetable Growing website.

So, like I said, we’ve been waiting for almost three years. That’s three years of emails, phone calls and general badgering of the Parish Council. Three years of asking how much longer they expect we’ll be waiting. Three years that I’m sure they wished we’d move far, far away in order to stop bothering them.

This week we had the call!

We have an allotment!

The nice lady called and asked if we were still interested. She asked with a laugh, as it’s only been two weeks since the last time I emailed her to bug her enquire as to our position on the waiting list. She said the paperwork would be sent out immediately for us to complete and return. We were happy!

Two days later we received said paperwork. Lots of it. Michael said he didn’t remember having to sign so many papers when we bought our house. But sign we did and, attached to the last piece of paperwork in the envelope was a shiny key. The key to mud and dirt and sweat and tears and snails. Let’s not fluff it up at all.

Gardening is hard work.

So I’ve heard.

Anyway, we’ve signed the paperwork, filled the forms and sent our first years rent of £25 (approximately $40 to those of you in the US). Not bad at all, I don’t think!

Our highlight of the day is going to see our plot. I bet reality hits us when the overgrown mess is in front of us and the realisation of how much work we need to do before we can grow anything is before us.

It might not be in such a bad state.


Ah well, since when did hard work kill anyone? At least that’s what I’ll be telling the children when I arm them with spades and encourage them to get digging.

Hopefully this will be another way of becoming more frugal and saving a little more money. I need to find some very cheap but half decent tools for the plot. Spending lots of money on it wouldn’t be frugal but, I imagine, would be very easy to do.

We’ve never done this before (not on this scale anyway, do a few pots and raised beds in the garden count?), so if any seasoned fruit and veg growers are out there we’d be glad to hear your tips and tricks, especially any cheap and cheerful ones! What tools are a must – but won’t break the bank? Where is the cheapest place for seeds, but the seeds must still be good quality? How can we have a bumper harvest next year for as little outlay as possible?

All advice is welcome (and needed!) and please feel free to post links in the comments section below to any blogs, posts or pictures you might have if you grow your own.

10 thoughts on “Dig in!

  1. Hi there!
    I don't have experience of veg growing but are you on Freecycle? You can register for your local group and then put a wanted request and if anyone has tools they no longer need then they give you them for free! Freecycle.org.
    There will be half decent books at the library on growing veg.
    Love Collette xxxx

  2. When we were first married we lived in an apartment with no yard and I heard about what you call allotements and I signed up and got one.
    I don't know how big yours is but ours was 12 feet sq there abouts. the land was in areas that couldnt be built up and they tilled it and then plotted it off. It was free at the time.

    Not a lot of room but I planted a few veggies and even some flowers. I did others didn't always tend their plots as well and once my squash came it it was stolen a few times…

    Keep watered and weeded and you should have great success.

    Good luck.

  3. That is really neat! I just started a min-garden this year with about 6 zucchini plants, a few green beans and a few corn plants and I couldn't keep up with it:( I'm not meant to be a gardener!

  4. I never heard of people being able to buy a small plot of land to grow their own food. This sounds like a great idea. Congratulations on receiving your allotment. A good place you might be able to get tools is a yard sale. I don't know if you have yard sales in the UK but that's what we have in the US. It allows homeowners to sell their old stuff from their home in their yard.

    Stopping by from SITS

  5. I forgot to say "Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest". I hope you're having a great Saturday.

    Stopping by from SITS

  6. Oh how cool is that?

    SO I am not a great gardener….we got some decent pole beans, zucchini and broccoli this year.

    Hmmmmm, I would def. start a compost bin (you can make your own…leave it near the garden bed and bring your scraps/compost from home….I leave a large plastic coffee container with a lid under my sink to collect it throughout the day)

    Now if you ever want to venture into dairy goats or chickens….not that is something I know a little more about!

    Oh, and I second the FREECYCLE idea….or maybe a local GoodWill.


  7. WOW! I had no idea they do that in the UK.
    I'm curious, what can you plant at this time of year? Are you in the northern or southern region? Maybe you could grow potatoes?

    I have gardened in the past. Just watch for pests, esp underground animals that eat the roots. That has always been the issue i run into. UGH!

  8. Congrats~
    That is so exciting!
    This was our 1st year of a BIG garden!
    We had to rent a sod cutter and tiller to work the land!
    But it was not to hard and very rewarding!
    I posted a slide show of our begining….middle and end of our garden season. I posted it Sept 6. so if you come to my blog and scroll down you can watch it?


  9. Not a grower myself, but my dad is! He uses Thompson and Morgan for seeds – they're on-line. Once he moves down here, he's looking forward to a free supply of horse manure – good stuff! One year, he dug seaweed into his potato plot and had a massive crop – not sure if you can get hold of any though LOL!
    Hope the fact that the plot only just became available means it's been worked until fairly recently.
    If you do keep chickens and want any advice, I'll do my best as I've been keeping poultry for years.
    Enjoy your allotment – didn't realise they were so hard to come by these days!

  10. Hi Tania
    Cheap tools break. Need I say more? We arrived back in NZ without any tools and found second ones unavailable (but if you follow uphand deceased estate sales or house moving then good quality in the first place but now second hand will be perfect).

    Oncxe you have posted pics of the site, then I can comment more on what you can start with (depends on how ready for planting the plot is – allow plenty of time for dealing with severely overgrown patches). But KALE grows through winter in many places and it is super good for you and tastes great. And garlic on the shortest day is something to prepare for. More on seed saving another time eh?!!

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