Gransnet forums


To take the offer or not….

(27 Posts)
Waterloosunset Wed 13-Apr-22 12:06:00

Hi everyone, so I have a dilemma and would love to hear your thoughts…
About 15 years’ ago, when I felt strong and well, I put my name down for an allotment, it’s about ten minutes from where I live. Well I’ve finally been offered a plot and I am so excited! However, I have to acknowledge that now, at nearly 68, my back and joints are complaining and I worry I may not be able to maintain it. I’ve just looked at the plot, it’s about 25 square metres and needs work. The gentleman running it said I could bring in family and friends to help, even grandchildren! My heart is there and I would love to hear the views of those who have allotments and how much work is involved. Many thanks.

Septimia Wed 13-Apr-22 12:46:34

I know people in their 80s who have an allotment - but they've had it for many years so don't have to do the work to bring it under control.

Will you have to take the allotment for a minimum number of years? If that isn't too long, it might be worth giving it a go. You don't have to tame it all at once and anything you do manage to do - hopefully with family and friends helping (to share the produce?) - will leave it in a better state for the next person.

If you decide to go ahead, aim to do a little at a time. I hope it works out and that you enjoy the fresh air and satisfaction it will bring.

Esspee Wed 13-Apr-22 12:51:16

I would go for it and perhaps pay someone to get the plot rotovated.
Do you have family/friends who might like to share it?
It was something you longed to do, I’d give it a go.
Why not!

Oopsadaisy1 Wed 13-Apr-22 12:51:25

Presumably you could get somebody in to get rid of the difficult weeds? Maybe you could pay a family friend to help you to get it ready for planting? Someone with a rotovator perhaps?
Weeds aren’t too bad , but if it’s brambles and ground elder that will really be hard work.
Congratulations though!

Oopsadaisy1 Wed 13-Apr-22 12:51:45

Espee crossed posts!

ExDancer Wed 13-Apr-22 12:56:43

I was going to suggest the same thing. Look online for garden help in your area and expect to pay £20+ an hour.

Redhead56 Wed 13-Apr-22 13:10:38

I don’t have an allotment but do have a rather large garden with twenty eight foot raised veg bed built for me. It’s a struggle at times but I don’t know what I would do without it. Take the opportunity while you can it will be hard work but the rewards will be worth it.

midgey Wed 13-Apr-22 13:16:42

Could you find someone to share it with? That way it makes life easier.

Dempie55 Wed 13-Apr-22 13:16:56

Depends on how much time and effort you are willing to give it. Sounds like a full-time job to keep it all under control. If you have friends and family able to help, I would give it a go. If it's just you alone, it could become a stressful burden which you'd be better off giving a swerve.

Sardinia2020 Wed 13-Apr-22 13:24:20

I’d give it a go. You might find it improves your physical fitness and it will certainly give your mental health a boost. You can start with a small area for the first year rather than thinking you’ve got to clear the whole lot straight away. You can always give it up if you decide it’s just too much. I think you’ll regret it if you don’t give it a go. If I lived near you I would come and help!

GrannyLaine Wed 13-Apr-22 14:27:54

We have gardened an allotment plot for many years though recently I've not been able to do much. I would think very carefully about how much time you want to devote to it and what you want to grow. It's a LOT of work.
And PLEASE don't even think of having it rotavated if there is a lot of perennial weed like horsetail and ground elder. It just chops up the root and makes the problem ten times worse. You might want to look at no-dig methods of cultivation which are environmentally friendly and much easier on your back.

Waterloosunset Wed 13-Apr-22 15:00:12

Thank you all so much for your thoughts, encouragement and constructive advice. It is very much appreciated. I have two weeks to think it over and so I will it give it serious consideration. Yes, I have friends who might be interested - we could all share the produce which would be lovely. Septimia, I didn’t think to ask about minimum number of years, so will check it out. Sardinia, wish you could….it could be the new Gransnet venue! Thanks again everybody.

karmalady Thu 14-Apr-22 16:18:44

rotovating is the quickest way to spread nasty weeds. Lay cardboard over weeds if allowed

Sharing with a friend or two would be good, I would not take it on by myself at your age, it took a huge amount of work by myself and my husband, to settly my allotment but thereafter it was a wonderful place to escape to

Divide it up into manageable beds eg 4` x 8` and then just tackle one bed at a time, I used to mainly do hands and knees hand weeding like this, so tranquil and that size was never overwhelming

karmalady Thu 14-Apr-22 16:20:49

I never ever dug btw and had the best allotment on the whole site. The rotovators, diggers and horse muck spreaders had masses of weeds

H1954 Thu 14-Apr-22 16:22:24

I would be tempted to try and share it too. Not only would this help with the labour and rent it is also a way of sharing the produce.

glammanana Thu 14-Apr-22 16:28:13

Please consider giving it a go and share with family or friends,you will find it so rewarding just doing a small amount at a time there is nothing better than fresh home grown produce & flowers.Enjoy x

ElaineI Thu 14-Apr-22 16:30:45

That sounds wonderful. DS has an allotment and uses cardboard for the weeds which has worked well. So far he has had parsnips, lettuce, rhubarb, strawberries and has potatoes. on. the go. Some herbs too. They have monthly friendly meetings and he has met the people who originally had his flat - he found their wedding photo at the back of a cupboard and has returned it to their family. As things get pricey it will help you in the future and also your friends.

GrannyLaine Thu 14-Apr-22 16:31:06

The rotovators, diggers and horse muck spreaders had masses of weeds

..... which they would then spray with glyphosate. Or on one occasion at our allotments, diesel. angryangry

karmalady Fri 15-Apr-22 09:02:57


^The rotovators, diggers and horse muck spreaders had masses of weeds^

..... which they would then spray with glyphosate. Or on one occasion at our allotments, diesel. angryangry

They don`t have the decades of knowledge and are unaware of the deadly dangers of glyphosate and unaware of companion planting and how predators come in to eat the likes of greenfly. It is the lazy way. I bet it was done by people who have `gardened` for only a couple of years. They are the ones who give up very quickly, you need patience and an affinity with nature, to be a really good old style gardener, to work with nature, not against nature

lixy Fri 15-Apr-22 09:26:14

How exciting! It depends on the rules of your particular plot but here many people have divided their patch up into a series of raised bed with paths between. They put a thick membrane at the base to stop the weeds growing through. That way you could tackle a bit at a time.
Another friend shares her allotment - she has half and another friend keeps chickens on the other half. Rules are very different for each site so check and double check what is and isn't allowed.
We don't have an allotment anymore as we moved house, but loved it when we did and it was a great place to take friends and family - often for the day with a picnic. They all mucked in so work got done with many hands!

GrannyLaine Fri 15-Apr-22 12:26:46

I bet it was done by people who have `gardened` for only a couple of years

Sadly not karmalady I'm afraid its the old boys who listen to no one. The newer allotment holders seem much more aware of environmental issues

CraftyGranny Thu 21-Apr-22 12:37:26

You might want to look at no-dig methods of cultivation which are environmentally friendly and much easier on your back.

GrannyLaine Can I ask, what is the no-dig method please. And using cardboard to suppress weeds, I presume you would leave the cardboard on the ground until the weeds have gone. Can you tell I am new to gardening? hmm

CraftyGranny Thu 21-Apr-22 20:30:36

Actually I have just been watching Charles Dowding on YouTube in his no-dig garden. Very interesting and now I know what to do with the cardboard!!

BlueBelle Thu 21-Apr-22 20:48:11

I m 77 and took on an allotment when I was74/5 I was like you pondering with ‘I m too old’ etc etc but I love it mine is about 8 minutes walking distance I took about 3 months digging it over little by little…. because of other commitments I only go about twice a week but I love it I grow potatoes onions shalots parsnips courgettes leeks peas and beans I inherited rhubarb,
a big strawberry bed, raspberries and gooseberries there’s also a pear apple crabapple and damson trees already there I grew cucumbers and tomatoes last year
I ll keep going as long as my body is happy
Go for it

Coastpath Thu 21-Apr-22 21:05:11

Would it be possible to take half a plot? We had one of these that was 15 metres square and it was much easier and less intimidating than a full plot.

Other things to consider are can you park on site? Can you store tools in a shed? Are hoses allowed or do you have to carry water from a trough? These things make a big difference every time you visit the plot.

Do you go away a lot in summer as things will need tending and watering. A plot that size will make LOTS of produce. Can you use it all or store it?

It's very hard work to start, but once you're up and running it's a case of little and often and it's really rewarding. We had a table and chairs and a little fire pit and with a cold beer it was a bit of paradise after a working day.

Here's our allotment on the day we got it - very intimidating! Then again during the first harvest.