Celebrating Living and Growing, August 13-19
It’s National Allotments Week and sites across the country are opening their gates and holding open days to encourage more people to grow their own.
Backed by the National Allotment Society (NAS), the aim is to share the joy of gardening and communal endeavour to encourage everyone to grow food in their own gardens, balconies and backyards – and eventually take on an allotment.
There are open days during August along with barbecues, exhibitions, produce stalls, music and even chicken poo bingo on sites across the country. Click here to view a list and find an event near you.
Renting an allotment means you can grow crops like potatoes, onions, sweetcorn in quantity but as I’m always banging on about it, you can grow food in small spaces, or as part of an ornamental garden.
Grow decorative veg in the garden
Runner and French beans have white, red, purple and yellow flowers and as they grow vertically, don’t take up much ground space.
Most salad ingredients are easy to grow in pots, especially cut-and-come-again lettuce, which needs a semi-shady spot in summer.
Culinary herbs can be grown in pots by the door and rosemary or lavender can make a low hedge.
Strawberries look attractive and produce fruit in a hanging basket or trough if kept well-watered.
Small fruit trees in pots
Small fruit trees on dwarfing rootstock are a productive and pretty addition to any garden and, if kept in pots, can be transferred to an allotment.
National Allotments Week started in 2002 as a way of raising awareness of allotments and the role they play in helping people to live healthier lifestyles, grow their own food, develop friendships and bolster communities.
The NAS aims to protect, promote and preserve allotments and this is what you can do to help:
Measures to protect allotments
- Allotment associations: protect your site, register as a community asset.
- Allotment federations: keep allotments in the public eye, make sure they are mentioned in the Local Plan and lobby your councillors and MPs.
- Councils: preserve and value your allotment service – it has the potential to deliver some of your public health targets.
- Plot holders: join the National Allotment Society and support your regional network to promote the movement.
- Aspiring plot-holders: do not be put off by the thought of a long wait – sign up for a plot now; without waiting lists, allotment authorities cannot assess demand.
For more information, visit https://www.nsalg.org.uk/news-events-campaigns/national-allotments-week/.