How to get started

HOW CAN I GET STARTED

If you are fit, an experienced gardener or have had an allotment before, and if you can estimate and budget the time you will need to devote to achieving what you want to get out of your allotment, why not contact the Council or Palmers offices, make the necessary arrangements, and get stuck in?

So far as tools are concerned, ordinary garden tools – spade, fork, hoe, rake, trowel etc.. are all that are needed to make a start. Later on you may think in more ambitious terms – cultivator, strimmer, lawnmower (for your barbecue area and access path!), or perhaps find somebody to share the cost of these expensive items.

The important thing, however, is to make a start.

The Allotments Society has written a Leaflet entitled “The New Allotment” which may prove helpful to newcomers

WHY JOIN THE BRIDPORT AND DISTRICT ALLOTMENTS SOCIETY?

In 1929/30 Bridport had 533 allotments covering nearly 34 acres. In 1961 it had 150 on just under 10 acres, in 1985 only 99 allotments on 6.5 acres, and that number was further reduced to 81 on just 5.4 acres by 2008. However the Bridport Town Council continues to make every effort to recover from this state of affairs and has opened further new allotments since, and the Bridport Community Orchard. Further new plots are at the planning stage in the Priory Lane area, and discussions are under way with Allington Parish. In this modern age pressure upon urban open space of any kind is considerable, and allotments, if they are under used are especially vulnerable.

The Bridport and District Allotments Society is sponsored by the Town council and exists to protect the interests of current and potential allotment holders.

It is open to non-allotment holders, including members of the Bridport and District Gardening Club. The Allotments Society has also arranged discount for members at a local nursery.

For £2.00 per year, can you afford not to join?

HOW CAN I GET AN ALLOTMENT, AND WHAT WILL IT COST ME?

There are two ways in which you can get an allotment in Bridport. One is to apply to Bridport Town Council at:

Council Offices Rax Lane

BRIDPORT Telephone: 456722

Council allotments are currently located at Flaxhayes (36 allotments), Skilling (59 allotments), West Allington (44 allotments), Priory Gardens (13 allotments), Community Orchard (16 allotments), South Street (1 allotment) and St Swithun’s Road (2 allotments). A Council allotment will cost you from £per year according to size, at Skilling there is an additional charge of either £ or X2.50 water rate. Due to the present wish to accommodate as many people as possible until more allotments can be opened those belonging to Bridport Town Council are re-let to residents of the Bridport Parish only, and it may also be necessary to confine new tenancies to half size plots . Existing tenants who live outside the town boundary pay twice the annual fee, but 50% is reclaimable from their own parish

A number of allotments are also available on land owned by Palmers Brewery. Applications for one of these may be directed to:

Palmers Brewery, The Old Brewery, West Bay Road, Bridport, DT6 4JA Telephone 01308 422396.

WHY TAKE AN ALLOTMENT?

An obvious answer is access to cheap, fresh produce of quality which you can grow organically if you wish, in season and throughout the year. An allotment, properly managed and maintained, will make a substantial contribution to the household economy and quality of life of even quite extended families

But many allotment holders find that there are other benefits to be enjoyed – healthy activity in the open air, the opportunity to experiment with crops and varieties that suit ones individual taste together with a sense of achievement when things turn out well.

There is also a strong sense of community. Allotment holders represent a formidable body of hard won knowledge and experience which is always available to you as a beginner and to which, as you gain in confidence and experience, you will be able to contribute in turn. Women allotment holders are increasing in numbers, and we encourage this development

We also foster links with allotmenteers in neighbouring parishes, in the interests of all concerned. If you know of any groups of allotment holders who might benefit from association with us, do not hesitate to get in touch.

WHAT IS INVOLVED, AND HOW MUCH OF MY TIME WILL IT TAKE UP?

Once you have taken on your allotment you will be able to grow fruit and vegetables, flowering plants and herbs pretty much as you wish within the boundaries of your plot. You will however be required to fulfil certain obligations designed to protect the use and enjoyment of their allotments by your fellow growers. If you take a Council allotment you will be asked to enter into a formal agreement to keep your allotment clean, free from weeds, in a good state of cultivation and fertility, and in good condition.

Arrangements on the Palmers allotments are somewhat less formal, but the obligation to act as a good neighbour is one that should be recognised by all allotment holders The amount of time that you will need to commit will vary depending on what you want to get out of your allotment. During the preparation, growing and picking season, between, say, April and the end of October, you would probably need to budget 4 – 8 hours per week. You could spend longer, some manage on less.