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You may be a little apprehensive at first, about meeting the neighbours, but actually this isn’t too bad as the sort of people that ‘do’ allotments are gardeners, and gardeners, in the main, are ‘nice’ people.

As a newcomer, you’ll be joining an already established community so it may take a while before you get to know everybody, but in next to no time you’ll become part of the group. If you are a novice and know nothing about growing or tending fruit and vegetables, you will find helpful neighbouring plot holders willing to show you the ropes and offer advice. Even if you don't ask!!

To help you ‘fit-in’ more easily you’ll need to observe the unspoken plot etiquette that operates on the site. This generally consists of good manners, consideration and tolerance and is mainly common sense, some of it even ‘blindingly obvious’! The following will give you a few pointers to make settling in easier.

Sometimes, a new plot holder, and even existing plot holders, think it might be a good idea to share an allotment with a friend. Apart from being prohibited by a clause in the tenancy agreement, it’s generally not a good idea anyway. You will be reliant on your co-sharer to pull their weight, and they on you, for if either one fails to keep their part of the plot up to scratch, then you risk losing your whole plot. Both of you will suffer the loss of the plot.

The tenancy agreement applies only between the society and the ‘named tenant’. Nowadays, it is increasingly the case that the plot is worked by ‘couples’ However, should the named tenant pass away, or the couple split up, the tenancy immediately lapses, as the named tenant may not bequeath the tenancy of the plot to the next of kin, or anyone else, as an inheritance or gift. In such a case, the surviving partner will have to approach the society to request that the tenancy be transferred. It is at the sole discretion of the society to decide if this transfer takes place; it is not an automatic process. Generally, the society will examine the individual circumstances, and treat the matter sympathetically but it is not a ‘right’. Hopefully, nothing so unfortunate will happen to you, instead you will join the growing number of successful plot holders and enjoy many years of happy allotmenteering.

If however, having taken on a plot and having given it your best shot, you aren’t enjoying it, or have insufficient time, or decide that allotment gardening is just not for you, then let the society know and give it up. Folk will think better of you if you give your plot up voluntarily, rather than wait for the hassle of being ‘chucked off’.

Should you decide that you’d like a shed, or a greenhouse, or any other structure, on your plot, then you need to seek permission from the council and submit an application form accompanied by plans for the buildings.

Bonfires are permitted on the site, but there are some guidelines which must be followed.

Your plot will be respected, and no other plot holder will enter onto it, without your invitation. They will expect the same in return. Similarly, ‘sampling’ some of your neighbour’s produce without their permission will lead to instant eviction.

If you have a dog, you are expected to keep it under control at all times and not allow it to roam freely on other plots. You are expected to clean up after it, especially on communal areas and pathways.

Similarly, if you bring your children onto the site, you are expected to supervise them and not to permit them to wander onto other plots, or become too noisy, and to ensure they tidy up after themselves too. Allotments are full of brickbats, canes and other sharp objects, so be aware for your children's safety as well as for your own. You may even wish to consider the advisability of an anti-tetanus jab.

Many plot holders like a bit of peace and quiet while spending time on their plot, they don’t necessarily want to listen to the top ten hits or the test match latest, on someone else’s radio, so personal earphones please, even if it is your favourite operatic aria!

All this does not mean that allotments are dour and un-welcoming places. On the contrary, the sound of cheerful banter and spontaneous laughter means the allotment site is a happy and successful one.

One of the great moments you will enjoy is the taste of those first crops that you have been impatiently waiting to harvest. Another source of pleasure will be sharing them with your family, friends and dinner guests. Your food will be fresher and more flavoursome than even the ‘swankiest’ of restaurants.

When you reveal to your friends that you’ve ‘grown it yourself’, with just that irresistible little hint of ‘one-upmanship’, they may even become interested in taking on an allotment too, and be keen to know more.

Just point them towards this website!

Getting Started