Page 59 - ALG Issue 4 2019
P. 59

 Welcome to our new members...
St Stephen Parish Council Bramford Parish Council Hessett Parish Council
2 Landowners
Holt Farm Infant School
Bardwell Allotments Association
Briars Wood Organic Allotment Gardens Mursley Allotment Society
Bressingham & Fersfield Allotment Association Darsham Allotment Association
Biggleswade Allotment Association
Albury Garden Club & Allotment Association Royston Allotment & Garden Association
16 Individual Members
   A peek behind the barbed wire
  “Open up the allotment to the
public? I don’t want people stealing
my produce!” was one of the less enthusiastic comments when, in 2006, our Committee suggested opening up the allotments to encourage people
to look around on an Open Morning to celebrate 25 years of self-management. At the time we had a three-year waiting list, so it wasn’t really about getting plotholders, more to let people look behind our high barbed wire fence. We back onto a car park, sports field and houses so not many people actually get to see all around.
Well, we went for it and are so glad
we did. We had a taster table with items made from typical allotment produce both sweet and savoury, a garden-themed tombola (no need
to deliver raffle prizes!), guess the vegetable – concealed in a black fabric bag, teas and coffees (we are lucky to have electricity), donated plants and a paper-based treasure hunt. One of our plotholders owns the local hardware store and he was so generous in donating prizes. We also decided to take people round on tours and explain about the allotments, its history,
and how to grow stuff. (We are self-
managed, leasing our allotments from the Council.) The Chairman’s husband was a keen winemaker and he kindly allowed tastings (no charge, of course, as we had no licence).
The day duly arrived, and we had loads of lovely people who had lived around the allotments but had never been inside. They just could not believe how big the site was, with over 150 five pole (or less plots), and were amazed at
the different types of allotment that people have. We did laugh when one small child looked at the blackcurrants and commented: “That’s a Ribena bush.” It was actually heartening to see how much children knew about their vegetables, mainly due, we suspect, to the very successful gardening clubs at local schools. The concerned plotholder stood guard over his plot for the two hours, but to be fair to him he declared the day to be a “great success” and he had managed to chat to people as they toured round, and even gave out some produce!
We have now been opening up the allotment for seven years. Things have changed, the waiting list was down to only four, but this year after a site tour
We did laugh when one small child looked at the black- currants and said: “That’s
a Ribena bush.”
we have once again gained several more people for our list. The number
of hens has also increased, which the children love. One plotholder managed to hatch road-runner type ducks, and these live happily next to the hens with their own small pond. Also, we are delighted that the local MENCAP group have two allotments. Several of their members help on the stalls at the Open Day and we love having this fantastic sociable group here. Another exciting initiative is that the local Parish Council have taken on a plot and pre-school children can come along and plant crops and dig up pre-planted potatoes. Again, another source of people for the waiting list.
We now see the same familiar faces come each year who just love our Open Day. The whole event is not just about fundraising, but we do make a profit each year thankfully as we have been so fortunate with the weather. It may not have been such a big affair as those featured in your last magazine, but it continues to be a lovely local event.
Janet Tublin, Barton Way Allotments, Hertfordshire
          Allotment and Leisure Gardener 59

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