Everything you need to know before getting an allotment
For all keen horticulturalists, there are few better feelings than getting down among the soil, getting your hands dirty and witnessing your hours of labour bear fruit further down the line. But what about those who love gardening but don’t have much of an outdoor space to work with?
Renting an allotment could provide the perfect solution. For those who live in high-density urban areas where space is at a premium, tending to your own little patch of paradise can prove the ideal escape from the stresses and strains of everyday life. There are numerous health benefits to gardening – both physical and mental – and having your own allotment offers you the chance to grow the fruit, veg and flowers of your choosing.
But how do you get your hands on the perfect plot? And what are some of the things you need to consider before getting properly stuck in?
Is it easy to rent an allotment?
It’s certainly simple to apply – you can do so by visiting your local council’s website and following the straightforward steps. However, allotment gardening is extremely popular and there is a high demand for spaces, so it’s likely that you’ll be placed on a waiting list. And it can take months or even years until one becomes available, so you might have to be patient and play the long game!
How much does it cost?
The cost of renting an allotment is likely to differ depending on a number of factors, such as location and size. In Leeds, for example, a full plot (250 square metres) costs £72 a year while in Birmingham the larger plots will set you back £113 every 12 months – although discounts of nearly 50% are available for those over the age of 65.
Although the annual fees are not particularly high, there will be more costs involved when you rent an allotment. For example, there’ll be tools to pay for, and possibly a shed to house all your equipment, so it’s important you weigh up all your financial options before you make a final decision.
What will you need?
Be prepared that your allotment may need a bit of TLC before you can get started in earnest, and you might not walk onto a perfectly tended plot. If there’s lots of work to be done, you might need to call on some of your loved ones for assistance to get your area tidied up to your satisfaction.
And once that’s done, you’ll need to make a plan of what you want to plant and where you want to plant it. Will it be fruit? Vegetables? Or will you turn your little patch into a riot of colour, with dozens of different flowers blossoming at various points of the year?
As already mentioned, you might want to invest in a shed to house all your tools, which will save you having to transport them from home every time. You could also keep a comfy chair and a radio or some of your favourite books – perfect for when a hard day’s gardening is done and you want to sit back, relax and enjoy your allotment.