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Mini allotments - are they worth it?
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Mithril



Joined: 22 Jul 2011
Posts: 1755
Location: wessex
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 13 1:38 pm    Post subject: Mini allotments - are they worth it? Reply with quote
    

I've been offered a mini allotment, 3 metres by 7 metres (21 metres square).

The site is roughly a three minute drive away. (I wouldn't walk it for numerous reasons). I think the charge would be 24pa.

Is is worth it? How much can be grown on a plot of that size?

Shan



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Posts: 8646
Location: South Wales
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 13 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

2 courgette plants
a row of spinach beet or swiss chard
a row of lettuce
2 purple sprouting brocolli bushes
Fill in the rest with leaks & beetroot

OtleyLad



Joined: 13 Jan 2007
Posts: 2737
Location: Otley, West Yorkshire
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 13 1:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Mini allotments - are they worth it? Reply with quote
    

Mithril wrote:
I've been offered a mini allotment, 3 metres by 7 metres (21 metres square).

The site is roughly a three minute drive away. (I wouldn't walk it for numerous reasons). I think the charge would be 24pa.

Is is worth it? How much can be grown on a plot of that size?


In many ways a small plot can be much more productive than a larger one that you can barely keep free of weeds, never mind grow anything.

If you can plan ahead and have a succession of crops so that the bed is never empty, it could provide you with more than the 24 per annum in tasty, free-range vegetable.

For example you could:

1. Sow peas now and follow them with cabbages August/September (for next spring).
2. Sow Carrots/beetroot and then follow with Garlic in October/November.
3. Courgettes followed by winter lettuce (under a cloche).
4. Sow PSB in pots and spinach in situ. When the spinach is done, plant out the PSB for next spring.

sean
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 42079
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 13 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

There is an article by cab on growing stuff in small spaces. Here

County4x4



Joined: 18 Dec 2008
Posts: 80
Location: Carnforth, Lancashire
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 13 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Or read up a bit on "square foot gardening" - you can grow 16 onions in a square foot!

Piggyphile



Joined: 02 Apr 2009
Posts: 891
Location: Galicia
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 13 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

The latest Permaculture Magazine has this:

7 EASY STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL ANNUAL POLYCULTURE
Vera Greutink on how to grow more vegetables than you can imagine in just 2 square metres

It was really interesting and simple

You can download a free copy of the mag from here
https://www.permaculture.co.uk/

JB



Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 7753
Location: 91 N
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 13 3:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Mini allotments - are they worth it? Reply with quote
    

Mithril wrote:
I've been offered a mini allotment, 3 metres by 7 metres (21 metres square).

The site is roughly a three minute drive away. (I wouldn't walk it for numerous reasons). I think the charge would be 24pa.

Is is worth it? How much can be grown on a plot of that size?


Three minute drive? So that's about a mile, two miles round trip, twice a week that's 200 miles a year which is about another 60 (ish). Plus any other overheads. You can get good value out of small plots but the smaller the plot the less I'd want to travel. A plot of 21 square metres I wouldn't consider unless it was in my back garden. Others may disagree but I don't think small plots are cost effective.

Shan



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Posts: 8646
Location: South Wales
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 13 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Would it be feasible to cycle to it? Good exercise and minimal cost.

gythagirl



Joined: 18 Feb 2010
Posts: 1461
Location: Somerset
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 13 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

What veg-growing space do you have already?

Mithril



Joined: 22 Jul 2011
Posts: 1755
Location: wessex
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 13 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Thanks all.

I've heard of square foot gardening and have a copy of the latest permaculture mag, just haven't read that bit yet. Will look at both

Cycling nor walking are an option. Getting to the allotments means going right through town and my lungs, and tbh my nerves, are not up to it. I'm going drive over there later to see what the actual area is like. It won't be any fun if I'm worried about the car, or me!

At present I grow a lot of fruit, herbs and salad in my garden and at my father's place. But even together the veg I can grow is minimal. It's veg I really want to grow which tends to be the stuff that takes up room (although I've yet to read up on the square foot gardening, so maybe I'm wrong).

Effort and petrol are a concern - it needs to be worth it. At present I spend 20.49 most weeks on a veg box. I guess I need to sit down and do the maths, without rose tinted spectacles (I've never seriously grown veg before, so I doubt my output will be anywhere near max for the area).

Pilsbury



Joined: 13 Dec 2004
Posts: 5645
Location: East london/Essex
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 13 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

If your paying for veg boxes every week then I'm sure you could grow enough to make it financial worth it, even if you stick to Tue expensive stuff you like such as mangetout and sweetcorn.

OtleyLad



Joined: 13 Jan 2007
Posts: 2737
Location: Otley, West Yorkshire
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 13 5:31 am    Post subject: Re: Mini allotments - are they worth it? Reply with quote
    

JB wrote:
Mithril wrote:
I've been offered a mini allotment, 3 metres by 7 metres (21 metres square).

The site is roughly a three minute drive away. (I wouldn't walk it for numerous reasons). I think the charge would be 24pa.

Is is worth it? How much can be grown on a plot of that size?


Three minute drive? So that's about a mile, two miles round trip, twice a week that's 200 miles a year which is about another 60 (ish). Plus any other overheads. You can get good value out of small plots but the smaller the plot the less I'd want to travel. A plot of 21 square metres I wouldn't consider unless it was in my back garden. Others may disagree but I don't think small plots are cost effective.


But there can be other non-financial benefits too: Outdoor exercise, sharing with other growers, a peaceful haven, time-out of the rat-race, the satisfaction of producing some of your own food, getting in-touch with the seasons...

Mithril



Joined: 22 Jul 2011
Posts: 1755
Location: wessex
PostPosted: Wed May 15, 13 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

I think I'm going to go for it

Should it not work out I'll look upon the experience as practice - my OH measured our front lawn and a similar bed would just fit

VM



Joined: 23 Nov 2007
Posts: 1748
Location: Lincolnshire
PostPosted: Wed May 15, 13 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Is there any chance of getting more space later on? In which case I would have said it is worth it to get foot in door.

Some Manchester allotments have recently begun letting mini-plots - about a sixth or an eighth of a full plot, so about 50 / 32 square metres as a way of giving people a chance to try it out before they commit to a larger plot.

But it was definitely with a view to those plotholders still being on list for a larger plot.

We were considering doing this at the plots we have left behind in Manchester - because so many people were taking on plots and then not doing anything with them - so that a huge amount of committee time was going on monitoring plots and trying to move people on so someone else on waiting list could have a go.

I'd imagine that in the long-term a plot of the size you mention would be a bit frustrating - though maybe less so if you can grow some stuff at home - and there are the other things to do with community etc.

Mithril



Joined: 22 Jul 2011
Posts: 1755
Location: wessex
PostPosted: Wed May 15, 13 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

VM wrote:
Is there any chance of getting more space later on? In which case I would have said it is worth it to get foot in door.

Some Manchester allotments have recently begun letting mini-plots - about a sixth or an eighth of a full plot, so about 50 / 32 square metres as a way of giving people a chance to try it out before they commit to a larger plot.

But it was definitely with a view to those plotholders still being on list for a larger plot.

We were considering doing this at the plots we have left behind in Manchester - because so many people were taking on plots and then not doing anything with them - so that a huge amount of committee time was going on monitoring plots and trying to move people on so someone else on waiting list could have a go.

I'd imagine that in the long-term a plot of the size you mention would be a bit frustrating - though maybe less so if you can grow some stuff at home - and there are the other things to do with community etc.


Yes, it's been set up in response to the huge waiting lists. I have three options i) take the mini plot for now and remain on the main waiting list. ii) take the mini plot and withdraw from the main waiting list iii) turndown the mini plot and stay on the main waiting list.

I'm actually rather surprised I received this offer at all as not long ago I turned down a full sized plot. I just don't like the main site - the whole atmosphere / scene is not for me. Instead I started planting a few things over at my Dad's place but still not much in the way of veg as for numerous reasons it's just not practical. However, a small plot, only 3mins away might be just the trick. I hope so anyway.

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