It’s ‘allot’ of work, but it’s well worth the effort!By Lewis Rudd
September 03, 2010
“Keeping it clean, tidy and weed free” are some of the words happy horticulturalists in Wokingham have used to describe their secret to award-winning allotments.
Wokingham Town Council has just announced the winners of its 2010 Allotments Gardening Competition, and Lewis Rudd discovered the top tips for their winning efforts.
Two experienced allotment tenants were this year tasked with carefully judging all 256 plots the council owns on land at St Paul’s Gate, off Oxford Road, and in Ormonde Road, Latimer Road and Gipsy Road.
And an assortment of cups, certificates and commendations have been awarded to users whose patches were considered to be in good condition and growing a variety of crops, vegetables and flowers.
Trevor Hughes was named winner of the Allotment Cup for his efforts in Ormonde Road.
The 71-year-old lives in Woosehill Lane, is a member of the Wokingham Horticultural Association and grows vegetables such as potatoes, onions, sweetcorn, tomatoes and raspberries on his patch.
Despite being no stranger to success in this competition, having won it several times in the past 10 years, he is pleased with his latest triumph.
He said: “It didn’t come as a surprise but I am pleased.
“I have won it several times – the first time I won I didn’t even know the competition was on!
“I’d say I visit my allotment three, four or even five times a week and more often in the spring and summer.
“I’m guessing the key is to keep it neat and tidy and weed free, for sure, because it can count for a lot.”
Fellow holder and winner Sidney Hemmings is to receive the Ralph Farmer Cup for the allotment he has kept in pristine condition in Latimer Road for the past 16 years.
The 81-year-old is celebrating his sixth successive victory in the competition, which town council allotment holders are automatically entered for.
“I’m over the moon,” he said.
“I enjoy it and have been keeping an allotment since I retired 17 years ago. It’s not been a great year for growing because it was late starting because of the cold and then it went away and we had that dry period.
“But what really broke the back of the allotment is all the wet weather we have been having and we did suffer because of that.
“But I’d rather not be going to the supermarket and paying £1 for nine runner beans because I’ve been picking bucket loads of them.”
And what is his key to success?
Mr Hemmings said: “Keeping to it really and being with it all the time. I’m not saying every day but as I’m retired I go three or four times a week to mine and generally on a Sunday, because I take my 12-year-old grandson with me.”
Other winners include Gill Jenkins, who won the Corfield Cup for her plot at the allotments in St Paul’s Gate, Joe Kidd scooped the HR Wells Cup for his plot in Gipsy Lane and Richard Reynolds was awarded the Harding Cup for being the best newcomer.
Paul Smith, amenities officer at the town council, said: “The allotment holders competition is always very good.
“A lot of people get an awful lot of pride out of their allotment and it is nice to see them working well.
“This year there have been some worthy winners.”
For more information about allotments, call Mr Smith (0118) 074 0886. There is currently a six year wait for allotments in Wokingham.