Growing your own is fashionable again, but if you’re new to it there is allotment etiquette to observe. There are approximately 330,000 working allotment plots in Britain today, many of them on thriving sites with long waiting lists, and while this figure can never be compared to the heyday of the allotment during the two world wars, there can be no doubt that their popularity is on the increase.
The main driving force behind this of course is the desire to grow healthy, tasty organic food for all the family; people increasingly want to take control over what they eat. Growing your own fruit and vegetables means that you have the reassurance of knowing exactly where your food is coming from; it is fresh, packed with nutrients and vitamins and, above all, as flavoursome as some of the supermarket varieties can be tasteless.
Allotments are the answer for many people who make the decision to grow their own. No longer the reserve of the archetypal cloth-capped elderly man, they are attracting a much wider following. Nowadays you’ll find people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures on an allotment site, all of them growing different crops in different ways, eager to learn and experiment, and more often than not, determined to grow organically.
So whether you are tempted to get a plot yourself, or are considering a polite notice to advise incoming upstarts how it’s done, here’s a guide to ‘allotment etiquette’.
Allotment etiquette sins
Allotments are communal spaces and you have a responsibility to behave considerately in your use of facilities. Here is a list of things you should not do:
- Don’t let your plot become overrun with weeds that invade neighbouring plots.
- Don’t plant hedges or trees that might shade a neighbouring plot.
- Don’t leave rubbish or piles of weeds lying around.
- Don’t monopolize the communal water supply.
- Don’t steal other people’s vegetables.
- Don’t have large bonfires at the busiest times.
- Don’t blast out loud music when others are trying to enjoy the peace and quiet.
Allotment etiquette wins
Working an allotment is hugely rewarding, not just in seeing the fruits of your labour come harvest time, you’ll meet new people and share experiences
- Participate in allotment life.
- Share excess plants, seeds or vegetables.
- Be considerate if using chemicals.
- Keep your plot looking neat and tidy.
More information can be found in Your Allotment, by Clare Foster, published by Cassell Illustrated. Alternatively, purchase Your Allotment: The Essential Guide to Creating and Keeping a Rich and Fruitful Plot from Amazon for £12.99.
If you liked this guide to allotment etiquette you’ll find much more content like this on 50connect’s gardening channel.Last modified: June 10, 2021