Having an allotment should be a pleasurable rewarding experience, however all too often people give up within their first year having not fully appreciated the amount of time and energy involved. Misdirected enthusiasm and lack of experience can easily lead the energetic beginner up the wrong path and it can be hard to get back on track as the seasons advance. As an allotment association it is disappointing and frustrating to see people come and go, whilst for the individual, it can be disheartening and the sudden end of a dream.
Here at Ashbourne Road District Allotment Association we are creating 5 new Starter Plots which will give the beginner a gentler introduction into allotment growing. Each Starter Plot is being let as ‘good to grow’ – soil will be turned, paths will be laid, a small shed and tools provided for use. As a shared resource between the 5 plots there is also a covered seating area, water supply and a three bay composting system. Additionally, support and guidance will be available from our Growing Academy tutors and you will even get growing space in the Academy polytunnel in time to grow greenhouse crops!
Without the usual pressures involved in clearing and setting up a plot the beginner will have time to learn growing techniques and understand the many challenges facing the allotmenteer, grasp the level commitment and work involved, as well as meet and engage with the rest of the allotment community. Each Starter Plot is only available to rent for one year from 1 March. By the end of the year starters will have gained knowledge and experience no book can teach and will have a more realistic view of what they can manage. The Lettings Secretary will work closely with each tenant throughout the year to plan for either a transition onto a larger plot (should that be the aim), or a satisfying conclusion for all concerned to a short lived allotment adventure.
Why as a beginner you should choose a starter plot:
- All of the soil on the plot can be utilised for growing straight away
- Each plot will have been completely dug over
- Paths will have been laid
- Boundary fences will be in situ and your space well defined.
- Each plot will have a complete set of basic tools: rake, hoe, fork, spade and hand tools – colour coded to match each shed
- Each plot has its own storage shed
- Each plot holder will have access to an allocated space in the Growing Academy polytunnel for growing salad crops
- The plots will share a community area for compost
- The plots will have a shared covered seating area and water access.