Gardeners celebrate allotment week
August 10, 2009
All things allotment will be celebrated during a national week dedicated to the humble plot.
Borough plot-holders have taken the opportunity to praise their hobby as part of National Allotment Week, which begins today.
One of the borough’s youngest allotment-holders is Jack Dean, 10, who lives in Masdar Gardens and recently had a green-fingered triumph.
His grandmother Sheila Dean said: “He has only had his allotment about three or four months but he has grown a great big fat marrow and he really enjoys spending time down there.
“We persuaded him to eat it and enjoy it once it was ripe.”
Popular growing choices on the plots include flowers, fruit and vegetables.
Fellow Ormonde Road allotment-holder Jim Bell said one of the greatest rewards, after the plentiful produce, was being out in the great outdoors.
He said: “My wife, Katharine, and I have got an allotment each.
“I’m the maintenance manager and she is the horticultural genius. It’s good to be out in the fresh air and getting exercise.
“We grow gooseberries, strawberries, beetroots, blackcurrants, raspberries, potatoes – we’re even still eating pumpkins harvested last year.”
Wokingham Town Council owns 262 allotment plots in Ormonde Road, St Paul’s Gate, Latimer Road and Gipsy Lane and several parish councils also own their own allotment sites, however all have waiting lists for plots, with Wokingham boasting a list with more than 100 people.
Demand for growing space, which costs £32 per year in the town for a plot, has risen sharply in the borough in the last year in the wake of the recession, which has made growing-your-own more popular.
At the town’s largest allotment site in Ormonde Road, Wokingham Horticultural Association has a shed, which sells seeds and materials.
Mr Bell, who took over his plot five years ago, said it is enjoyable but still hard work.
He said: “You do have to be prepared to work at it. If you take over an allotment you have to continuously weed it, you can’t just put a carpet down over it.”
Heathlands Garden Centre in Heathlands Road has organised an allotments weekend on Saturday, August 15, and Sunday, August 16, to coincide with National Allotment Week.
Centre manager James Downsing-Reynolds said: “We are hosting this weekend to give people interested in growing their own fruit and vegetables free advice on how to set up their own allotment or veg patch in their back garden.”
Visitors will be able to find out ways to maintain and cultivate their plots.
For more information on the allotments weekend call Heathlands Garden Centre on (0118) 977 3055.