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Someone's whined about our allotment - are we doing something wrong?

(17 Posts)
LaurieFairyCake Tue 26-May-09 13:35:00

We have 60% of it covered in plastic to keep the couch grass at bay but we have 15 slow growing fruit bushes which will eventually take over the whole plot.

Someone's complained it's not being cultivated - surely we're allowed to wait for stuff to grow hmm

These bushes cost us about 90 quid - I'm not planting more as they need space.

Tortington Tue 26-May-09 13:36:48

busy bodies with shit all else to think about

put a poster on your shed or something


" we are waiting for stuff to grow, if you want to know what, why not do the friendly thing and...ask!"

LaurieFairyCake Tue 26-May-09 13:52:53

Agree it's probably busybodies.

Our plot has a large triangle at the end (as big as the plot) which isn't anyone's so we covered that in plastic too to keep the couch grass off our plot. If we uncovered that which isn't ours then it would be obvious that the uncultivated bit is slightly less than the cultivated bit.

Unfortunately we have no shed or pole to put a notice. Not allowed 'em.

Bit gutted about this as we waited 3 years for this plot and we think it will take 5 years to come to fruition (ho-ho). We've also planted 7 dwarf fruit trees. Can't understand why anyone would think it's uncultivated.

Allotment envy hmm grin

MrsEricBana Wed 27-May-09 10:41:18

That's what it is - they are just itching to bung in some radishes where your plastic is! There is 800 strong waiting list for allotments here and people do allotment share. Could the complainer have the large triangle bit?

JamesAndTheGiantBanana Wed 27-May-09 10:44:59

I agree that it's none of their business, but you could always plant a few lettuces in the empty spaces while the fruit bushes grow, so you get some cheap summer salads and the sourpusses can't whinge.

LaurieFairyCake Thu 28-May-09 08:41:36

Unfortunately I don't know who the complainer is or they could have the triangle. The couch grass and bind weed have been buried under plastic for about 6 months. We're doing everyone a favour by covering this triangle in plastic to keep the weeds out of everyone's plot.

When we rolled back the plastic Tuesday some of it was still alive shock. I asked a friend and he said that it can take a year to kill this stuff.

We planted a one metre square raised bed of lettuce on Tuesday and we have 2x3metre beds coming next week, hopefully that will shut the buggers up.

I got an email from the council saying my fruit trees had died according to the complainer - 2 had died,the others have green leaves on them and seem fine.

Just noticed that there is a story in the mail this week that a man has lost his allotment after 20 years as he failed to keep more than 80% of his ground cultivated.

Fillyjonk Fri 29-May-09 09:48:51

just a thought-on ours you are not allowed to have entirely fruit trees-they don't count as "cultivating" it so if you are mainly fruit trees/bushes, you can expect a cultivation order.

This is beyond daft on so many levels, an utter PITA tbh, (my way round it is to have two allotments, each half fruit).

This wanting every cm cultivated annoys me a lot too as we garden very organically and have wildlife reserves (ie tall grass ;-) ), also we keep 1/4 of the plot fallow at any one time. TBH we have to do this as, after about 60 years of intensive, probably non-organic cultivation, the soil is exhausted and really quite poor quality.

We are just about keeping the right side of a cultivation order atm. smile

GentleOtter Fri 29-May-09 09:56:01

It might look a bit rough but if you fill as many pots and containers with compost then put them on top of the plastic, you should still get a productive crop.
Quick growers are radishes, lettuce etc so it would indeed be cultivated.
Shove a clematis at the base of the dead trees and it will scramble happily on it's frame.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 29-May-09 09:57:41

We're not allowed trees at all. Bushes yes, but not trees.

I think our allotment committee must be pretty lenient because ours is in a pretty dodgy state has lots of wildlife areas and nobody has ever said anything about it. He is keen on doing old-fashioned allotment-type stuff though - rows of leeks and onions, canes of runner beans, that sort of thing. And we enter veg in the village show...wink

TheFallenMadonna Fri 29-May-09 09:59:18

By 'he' I mean DH, who channels generations of country folk when it comes to the growing of prize veg. I also make a highly prized chutney grin

Fillyjonk Fri 29-May-09 10:09:49

another quick possibility-buy or make some raised beds. Very very easy but can explain if need be. Or buy a cheap wooden sandpit (have found them for £15 in past).

Stick it over the plastic if need be, else put a weed suppresser under (you can get these at b&q)

Fill with soil from garden centre. Then buy some plants-tomatoes and beans are really really easy.

Wave at oaf as s/he passes.

I do think you need to go on the offensive a little and do make sure you know what the regulations are on your allotment, and how they are going to be interpreted. Get a copy of the regulations and if you are in any doubt, go down to the CAB (half the volunteers there probably have an allotment).

The council will have to show you are in breach of these regulations to throw you off. There are very few standard regulations, and stuff like what you can grow (flowers? fruit?), height of trees, percentage defined as "cultivated" differ a lot even sometimes within borough.

Another thing to talk about with them is what their policy is on new plot holders, some councils have a policy of helping them, doing some clearing for them, etc etc.

Another thing to chuck at them is the fact that you are gardening organically, they are meant to be supporting that sort of thing.

If things get iffy, start putting as much as possibly in writing.

Fillyjonk Fri 29-May-09 10:15:11


Do get to know your allotment neighbours. For better or worse, allotments are a tight knit community.

Of course if you have just taken on the plot, you will not know anyone yet! But if you are there, saying hi, nodding sagely at all the soooooo helpful neverending advice that you are going to get as a woman of childbearing age, gardening, then odds are people will think "oh she is doing her best" and leave you to it.

It is quite important to ingratiate yourself as tbh I'd put odds down that, for some reason, that the rude oaf actually wants your plot. Possibly it is adjacent to theirs or similar. This is how things generally go on allotments, IME, and you are far more vunerable as a newcomer or a recluse.

Bettymum Fri 29-May-09 10:22:08

We got our allotment a month or so ago and I have been handweeding the couch. It is a pain. I have been putting raised beds in as I go, so at least the bits I've weeded look nice
Sadly the land has just been identified as building land so we all have to get off and hopefully we'll get new plots in October.

oystersandcrackersinthesnow Fri 29-May-09 11:50:57

I hate couch grass. These days I dream about it (also doing it all by hand).

bedlambeast Fri 29-May-09 22:26:17

Message withdrawn

Fillyjonk Sat 30-May-09 14:46:30

betty how angry and sad at allotments turning into building sites

Bettymum Mon 01-Jun-09 13:57:27

Fillyjonk, I know...however it looks like we do have another site to go to. I hadn't done a massive amount to my site as I have to fit it in round a toddler, but the people who had done a lot were extremely sad and angry. Apparently this new field is highly unlikely ever to be built on so fingers crossed we will be there for a while.

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