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Allotments

5th July 2017

There are no vacant allotments in Bere Ferrers but we have half plot allotments vacant in Bere Alston.

 If you are interested in an allotment, please contact the Assistant Clerk at the Parish Council offices who will put you on a waiting list.

 

 

Allotments: Fun and Frustration

Thoughts on Starting an Allotment

 

I write from personal experience of allotments. My wife and I have had one at Bere Ferrers for about seven years or so now and they can be fun, be very rewarding but also very frustrating!

Having seen the state of some of the allotments in the parish, I am sure that there are folk out there who, even with the best will in the world and full of good intentions to ‘grow their own’, have no idea of the hard, back-breaking work that must go into keeping an allotment.

Taking on an allotment is not a task to be undertaken lightly – as any allotment holder will tell you. It is certainly not a case of digging over a plot, sowing seeds and sitting back and waiting for the finished product.

Preparing the ground for seeds or small plants is hard work. However, once you’ve got it dug over, with clearly marked beds for your produce, it will look fantastic! Now seeds can be sown or, more likely, seedlings planted. This would appear to be the point where some people say ‘That’s it, everything’s planted. Now I’ll wait for the crops.’

Wrong! Unfortunately, weeds don’t have the same approach to allotments as we do. They will pop up everywhere at the slightest opportunity. Therefore, the initial preparation of your allotment is vital and may save you time, effort and money later. If you’re taking on a well-looked after plot, make sure you keep it that way; if you’ve got a plot that has been neglected and is overgrown, it is well worth the effort and expense of getting it laid out properly and as you want it from the start.

Hire a rotavator and dig the whole plot over. Then decide where your beds are going; if possible, use old railway sleepers or similar sturdy lengths of wood to make edging for each. This will help in keeping your plot tidy and keeping down the weeds.

If you’re doing this towards the end of the season it is worthwhile obtaining some well-rotted manure, spreading it over each bed and covering it with a black membrane over the winter. If you haven’t got membrane, you can use old carpet, plastic sheeting or even cardboard. During the winter, worms will come up and integrate the manure into the soil. Come Spring you should have a decent soil to plant in.

Where possible, keep the pathways between the beds free from grass. Either tread down the soil or, if you can afford it, lay bark down to help stop grass and weeds from taking over the paths.

Regular visits to your plot are essential and I speak from experience here! You may have a tidy-looking plot, with plants growing nicely in the summer sun, but leave it for a week or so or don’t check it after rain and you’ll find that weeds have taken over! It can be disheartening to see what had been a neat allotment suddenly looking neglected and weed-ridden – and it doesn’t take long! You may also incur the wrath of your neighbours if the weeds go to seed and start spreading to other plots.

So having an allotment is not easy. It will be very rewarding when your plot is looking like something off ‘Gardeners’ World’ or you carry home bags full of fruit and vegetables, but it does require a lot of regular input from you.

There is also the social aspect: you will meet new people; if you have an allotment at Bere Ferrers, for a small fee you can join the Allotment Association, which has monthly meetings in the Social Club and, weather permitting, barbecues on the allotment for its members.

To conclude, do consider very seriously whether you have the time and commitment to take on an allotment. If you have, make sure you keep your plot as you and other plotholders would want it. You won’t regret it!

Bev Slaughter

 

                                                                                                    Parish Council Allotments

The Parish Council administer two allotment sites: one on the Bere Ferrers road just outside Bere Alston and the second behind the Social Club in Bere Ferrers.

A request for an allotment should be made to the Assistant Parish Clerk, Bere Ferrers Parish Council, Parish Hall, Station Road, Bere Alston PL20 7EJ. Tel: 01822 840748. The annual fee per plot at Bere Alston is: Full Plot £22, Half Plot £16; Bere Ferrers: Full Plots £16, Half Plots: £9, Orchard £66, payable in April or immediately on being given a plot.

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