How to Apply for a London AllotmentColin Campbell-Preston
One of the biggest drawbacks for many people living in the big city is the lack of garden space and outdoor areas to fulfill their love of gardening and green-fingered endeavours. Sizeable gardens are in short supply for most folk in London, meaning the demand for allotments is permanently high. So we have put together a short guide on securing a London allotment, tips for when you secure one and a few facts to back it all up.
Applying for an Allotment
All allotments in the UK are controlled by local councils, so you have to go through official channels to secure a plot of land for your gardening passion. By visiting the Government’s allotment application webpage, you can find your local council’s relevant application page.
The majority of local councils will ask you to complete a form, before considering your request. The questions in the form may include the plot size you require, the location of the plot and whether you require disabled access. Additionally, some councils may enquire as to why you are seeking an allotment.
Allotment costs vary in price depending upon the size and location. As a rough guide, allotments in the Royal Borough of Greenwich cost £100 per 125 square metres for residents of the borough, and £200 per year for out of borough residents.
When applying for an allotment, preference is often given to residents of the council or borough in which the plot is based – so it’s always better to apply for a location close to home.
It is highly likely that your first job after securing your allotment will be clearing the plot after the previous user has shut up shop. It is advisable to get the plot cleared by early spring, as this is the best time to start planting and sowing. If you are facing a race against time, the allotment management team may be able to lend a hand, or you may be forced to call upon any loyal friends in the local area.
When the plot is clear, it is always a good idea to test the pH of the soil so you can determine whether any lime or treatments need to be added. This can be done by using a pH meter , such as this one we stock from Botanico, Most vegetables will grow in a pH between 6.0 TO 7.5.
It is also worth lining the allotment with important additions such as composts bins and a shed. A There may be a communal compost heap so check this out before buying your own bin. After testing the soil, now you can select the perfect crops to be grown on the allotment – so you can start splitting the plot according to the fruit, veg and herbs you want to plant.
Remember to find a source for watering your plot, if lucky there should be a communal water tap which if you are even luckier is in range of a hose. If not the fellow holders should have organised a communal dip tank which allows watering cans to be used.
Amazing Allotment Facts
Allotments have long been part of the UK culture, helping agricultural societies prosper and grow – here are a few facts about allotments and their history.
- UK allotments can trace their roots back to Anglo Saxon times
- The current system was implemented in 19th century when plots were given to the poor to provide space to grow food
- The National Allotment Society estimate there are currently around 330,000 allotment plots in the UK
- However, they also believe there are currently around 90,000 people on the waiting list
- At the height of allotment popularity, there were roughly 1.5 million plots in the UK
If you are looking to get started on your own allotment plot, Capital Gardens stock a huge range of bulbs, seeds, tools and more to help you on your way. For a full range of products, visit our homepage, call our team on 0208 874 2037 or visit one of our three garden centres in the capital.
Image credits: Mark Hardley