National Allotment Week 2017
Next week we are celebrating National Allotment Week which takes place from Monday 14th August to Sunday 20th August.
This year’s theme is “Growing the Movement” a celebration of all the hard work put in by voluntary association management committees, plot-holder volunteers and councils managing, creating, developing and safeguarding sites.
To mark the week allotment groups across the UK will be opening their gates and holding barbecues, plant and produce sales, allotment tours, competitions and exhibitions, coffee mornings and afternoon teas – many of them raising funds to support local charities.
As an allotment holder myself I can testify that growing your own food is so satisfying and also helps you to reduce your carbon footprint and cuts out food miles. If you are one of the many thousands who’ve experienced growing a few small-scale herbs and salads, you may feel ready to spread your wings!
So how do you go about getting your own allotment plot? It’s really simple; The Gov.uk website links you to your local council to apply for an allotment near you. They will either allocate you a plot or, in most cases your name will added to a waiting list. If you don’t want to wait, have room in your garden; why not plan a vegetable patch or make some raised beds or planters out of ecodek® in the comfort of your own home
Talking about planters! The Wrexham Industrial Estate Living Landscape Scheme have built a huge raised wildflower bed out of light brown ecodek which we have donated outside Pentre Maelor Post Office on the Wrexham Industrial Estate. It has been seeded with a high pollen and nectar rich mixture to help pollinating insects.
Normally, a full allotment is approximately 250 square metres, but half plots are usually available if you think that this would be too much to manage.
It’s exciting to take on a new allotment but at the same time it can be hard work if you are inheriting a neglected plot as it may take a while clearing a plot. Once you have cleared the plot of unwanted materials and debris and been able to clear all the weeds the soil can be then broken up and outfitted with any compost bins, a shed, greenhouse and other useful items. Check out this solar powered greenhouse from inhabitat.com.
Once all the hard work has been done you are ready to start planting. Ensure you make a crop rotation plan to get the very best from your plot. If you are looking to start up a low maintenance plot these great hints and tips from an article in the Guardian will get you started.
I always find it’s best to introduce yourself to other tenants who are often very willing to give advice.
Why not get the whole family involved? Many young children are very enthusiastic about growing things and allotments can be a great place for children to learn.
It’s great to see at ecodek® Towers the allotment bug is catching as Catherine Ollier-Jones, Trade Sales Co-coordinator and Dave Hale, Warehouse Assistant and Paul Birkhill, Trade Sales Co-ordinator already have their own plots and every so often share advice with one another.
Dave grows his own fresh vegetables as well as keeping chickens on his plot; he also likes to involve his grandchildren.
Paul has maintained his own allotment and a plot at home growing both fresh fruit and vegetables. With all the fresh produce Paul makes his own jam, you could say that he is the jam connoisseur of ecodek® Towers. Since Paul joined in January we have tried and tested the different types of jam he has made including a chilli variety which was my favourite, I’m also working my way through a pot of plum jam which is delicious.
Paul is always sharing great tips with us in the office and has even made his own pesto out of nasturtium leaves which I’m definitely getting into. Check out this recipe from Garden Betty on how to make your own.
I too have managed a plot for 3 years and feel that this year we seem to be more established with the planning of our plot. In January, we decided to use manure to cover the whole of our plot so this year am definitely noticing the benefits and the weather has helped as well with all the mixed showers and sunshine. We’ve been successful growing strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb potatoes and yellow courgettes which taste great when I make my specialty carbonara.
Recently we had our NGS Allotment Open Day at Prices Lane in Wrexham where I have my plot and I thought I’d leave you with a slide show of some of our best kept allotments to give you some inspiration.
Does anyone have an allotment or a plot at home? If so what fruits and vegetables are you growing? Leave us a comment in the comments field below.