Allotment growing is fun, especially when there are other around to share the enjoyment, share ideas, and swap seedlings with! Our Association has an excellent community feel, and we all respect the time that we can each spend on our allotment .... some more than others ... some plots more immaculate than others .... but all kept to a general minimum standard.
BUT, it doesn't suit everyone. So ... is it for you?
The following are some thoughts to ponder before you take the plunge!
(1) Having an allotment needs year-round care (moreso in the growing season), and it can't be left for long periods without attention or maintenance. Having an allotment means making time to do tend to your crops and the weeding. If you already struggle making any free time in your life as it is (maybe work or family committments) then think carefully before taking on additional committment.
(2) Nobody should get an allotment for anyone else. The driving force for the allotment must be the person intending to actually do the work. We occasionally get people enquiring for their partners or friends as a kind of a 'gift' ..... in our experience this doesn't work. The person applying should have their own drive and interest ...... if you are the one who likes the idea and has the drive and time available then YOU should apply and do it yourself, not nominate a proxy!
(3) We run our allotment on a shoe-string budget because all our site maintenance is carried out voluntarily. The jobs could include hedge cutting, grass cutting, building a communal fence, being our membership secretary, updating the Health and Safety Plan etc etc etc. We value members who are able to give what time they can to help out. This may be something small or something big ... some find it difficult to give any time at all. We make no demands on anyone, but its nice when we get willing volunteers.
(4) If you leave your plot for long periods and allow weeds and their seed heads to cultivate on your plot, then you may not be aware that this creates huge problems for your neighbours. When the wind blows, the seeds migrate to neighbouring plots ..... and there they sit, all ready to germinate in someone else's lovingly prepared growing bed until the following spring! Its awkward having to speak to members about this, but it is something that we occasionally (and of necessity) need to do. THE IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER is to not get offended, and just get on with the weeding and strimming, but keep a more careful monitoring of weed growth in future!
Imagine how you would feel if you'd spent enormous amounts of time keeping your allotment in a tip-top condition with weed-free growing beds, only to find a little army of invasive weeds growing in the spring.