What Members Need To Know

The Stores

This is primarily for members and is run on a voluntary basis.   Buying in bulk, we are able to generate some income for the Association so do come and buy your supplies here.  It is also open to outsiders – pass the word on.     Mick is generally available for sales on Saturday and Sunday 11 am to 1 pm, at Northleigh Road.  Since restrictions have been in place because of the Coronavirus pandemic, you will need to phone, text or email your order through, pay on-line and then collect your order from Northleigh Rd site. Price-list of items – check out our Stores post.

Sheds, greenhouses and polytunnels

When you sign an agreement for a plot on one of our 5 sites, the rental is just for the land and basic facilities such as water from a standpipe, and toilets. Some allotment sites don’t even have toilets, but there are sites in other areas where sheds and other items are provided.    Existing sheds on our sites have been put up by previous plotholders and if they are well-constructed and you look after them, they should last.

The same goes for greenhouses and polytunnels.

If you want to put up or modify a shed, greenhouse or polytunnel, please check the rules on maximum sizes (Council rules – download copy from this website or the BDAC website) and get ideas and advice from other plotholders who have them or the Committee (use Contact Us page).  Several plotholders have had un-repairable damage in high winds, so shortcuts and cheap options can be a false economy.    You can have one of each on a plot.

In 2016, the Council introduced a new rule for structures: you must now include guttering on any shed, greenhouse or polytunnel, connected to a water container.  This ensures that rainwater is harvested and helps conserve water supplies, especially in periods of draught.

Communal facilities

Facilities vary from site to site, with Northleigh Road being the only one with a pavilion, lockers, and an electrical supply.    All the others have a tearoom or communal shed which should be available for members wishing to use it for taking a break, having a drink, and social activities.     If you use any of the supplies, or things like bottled gas, a contribution to the site kitty is appreciated – ask who looks after this.

We are continually looking for ways to improve facilities as well as maintain them, for all 5 sites, and you are welcome to make suggestions – sources of money, materials or resources.  In the meantime, we need to look after what we’ve got, and minimize damage, theft etc by using common sense.   You can do your bit by tidying and locking up after you, and offering to help with any maintenance jobs if you have the time.

Maintenance

No-one is employed or paid to – clean the toilets, pick up litter, empty rubbish bins, wash up or clean out tea rooms…….   All vital jobs which often are only noticed when nobody does them!  So do your bit to minimize mess, clear up and remove your own rubbish off site or take general rubbish to the tip, such as glass, plastic, metal.  Use bonfire areas and composting facilities provided on site.    Any offers to do maintenance ‘jobs’ on a regular basis, are welcome.     Everyone who does this now, thank you!

Site maintenance such as grass-cutting of verges should be done by the Council (or sub-contracted), but in recent years, this has not been regular or of a quality standard.    Please report what you see so we can monitor what is being done – or not done. 

Security

Security is an on-going issue for all allotment sites, especially those which are easy to get into, and all of our 5 sites have had problems of one sort or another over the years.     We have put in bids to the Flo Pickering (Allotments) Fund to request fencing improvements, but the Fund is limited and we may get nothing from this in the foreseeable future, so all we can do as an Association is repairs, make do and mend, and on some sites, this has worked quite well to prevent theft and vandalism becoming a regular occurrence.   

All members can play their part in minimizing problems by:

  • Always locking and unlocking the gates when you come on site and leave, especially if you are the last to leave
  • Protect your valuables eg electrical tools, rotivators, by not leaving them out, storing them in a securely locked shed or taking them home. 
  • Reporting any incidents or possible points of entry on to the site (eg broken fencing) to someone on the Committee (or use Contact Us page)
  • Reporting thefts to the police.  Even if they don’t follow it up or there’s no evidence which can identify the culprit, you should still get a crime number.  This can alert the police to persistent problems, and help make a case for CCTV if that can home in on a weak point.
  • Being responsible for any visitors you allow on to the site, including children, and ensuring they do not go on to other people’s plots or help themselves to fruit and vegetables

Standpipes and watering your plot

Standpipes sometimes leak or get damaged.  Please report any problems – we have to pay for all water used, so on-going leaks cost, as do burst pipes.

Council rules do not allow us to water our plots directly with a hosepipe.  When there are draughts and keeping plants watered is a problem, it’s tempting to do this but you are asked only to use your pipe to fill water butts on your plot, and then use a watering can.   If this is a problem for any reason, please inform the Committee (via Contact Us page).

Everyone can save rainwater by harvesting it with guttering on their shed or polytunnel, and by mulching plants so they don’t need watering so often.

If anyone can suggest a source of water butts (eg recycling containers), please let us know as these are not provided and it’s a problem for new tenants.

Bonfires

The Council allotment rules only allow us to have bonfires in March and November.    On some sites, there are bonfire ‘areas’ where plotholders can put items for burning – ‘for the burning of diseased plant material’.  If you have your own fire, please do not light them in windy conditions, and stay with the fire till it is out.    Do not put plastic, glass, polythene, metal items on fires – take these away for recycling if possible.

Check out the ‘Recycling tips’ page on this website for ideas on how to reduce and recycle waste.    

Items which can be composted (not invasive weeds) can be put on communal compost areas where we have set these up, rather than burnt.

Dogs and animals

The Council rules are very clear about animals on the site – please check these out if you wish to bring a dog (which must be on a lead at all times) and keep animals.  Only hens (no cocks) and rabbits are allowed and you must ask permission from the Association and comply with specifications about how to keep them.

Protection of wildlife

Over the years, the range of chemicals used on allotments has been reduced, but there are still items which can cause problems.  For example, hedgehogs do a grand job eating slugs, something gardeners can appreciate, but the common blue slug pellets are responsible for the death of thousands of hedgehogs every year.

Please check out all the chemicals you use on site and try other alternatives if they can damage the wildlife which is disappearing everywhere.    

For example, a product called Slug Gone is an alternative to slug pellets.  Why not look up and use methods of minimizing insect damage which don’t involve poisoning mammals, birds and beneficial insects like bees and ladybirds and check out the page on natural slug control, on this website    https://wardendallotments.org/news-features/features/dealing-with-slugs/

The fruits of success

You’re very likely to have a glut of certain vegetables or fruit, once you get going, but don’t worry – there’s lots of people who will appreciate your success.  Here’s some ideas

  • Leave it at the front of the pavilion or tearoom for other plotholders to help themselves to
  • Tell us via the Contact Us page – someone might be interested in doing a big freeze or jam-making session and we can advertise it
  • Let the Events sub-group members know (use Contact Us page) as we could sell your surplus at one of our events. 
  • Donate it to your local residential care home or food bank – for example the Wednesday foodbank at St.Margarets Church

AND FINALLY…..

If you have any problem, contact the Secretary on plot (49/51 Northleigh Rd site) or another Committee member, use the Contact Us page or and we will try to sort it out.  No guarantees, but we’ll do our best!