Category Archives: Allotments

Allotment News Round-up; waiting lists and new schemes

All over the country communities are fighting for their allotment rights, and it seems to be working.

Data taken from 2011 showed, the average number of people on allotment waiting lists for a county in the UK was around 400 people. The graph below (click on graph to enlarge) lists the 21 counties with the highest number waiting lists, with Sheffield having 2,411 people on its waiting list.

The graph also shows an alarmingly low number of sites for allotments throughout the UK.

However, 2012 has taken a step in the right direction in tackling the growing problem of allotment waiting lists and development. Despite Green Party candidate Jenny Jones not winning the London mayoral election last week, which may have led to the closure of London City Airport to make way for allotment sites or a green industrial park, there has still been encouraging allotments news around the UK.

Vale council are launching their first allotment strategy, with consultations currently taking place till 30th June to ask the community for their opinions on drafting a scheme to lower their waiting list, which currently has 875 people.

While in Northampshire, Kettering Allotments have got two of their waiting lists down to zero and are now taking new local applications.

And in Somerset a charity is pushing for developers to factor in allotment space when building new houses. The charity plan to collaborate with people in the community to tackle the county’s oversubscribed allotment waiting lists.

If you’re interested in getting involved in allotment schemes, check your local council to see if there any forums you can join.

In London, due to the limited space in developing new allotment sites, they have shared allotments that you can register to be part of. To see where your closest allotment is visit the London Allotment website.

By Krystena Petrakas

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All the allotments, farms and community gardens in east London – now mapped!

If you’ve grown out of your windowsill herb garden and you’re keen to get your hands dirty in a big allotment, check out this map. We’ve collated all the community gardens, urban farms and allotments in and around our neck of the woods. We’ve also made sure that each of these places either run gardening workshops or are happy to accept gardening volunteers. Some, like Hackney City Farm, even have special ones for kids – have a look.

It’s not definitive, by any means – email us to let us know if we’ve missed anything out. For your visual reference, the green markers indicate allotments, red for farms and blue for gardens. All information about allotments was obtained from Hackney Council.

By Zing Tsjeng

Shedloads of fun

Sheds are generally associated with being something that your dad liked to hang out in. But did you know that it’s the younger generation who are getting into having garden sheds?

New research by gardening equipment company Cuprinol has revealed that over half of young adults (18-34 yr olds) currently have a shed. And while sheds used to be considered a male hide-out, in the last decade an increasing number of women are staking their claim on this outdoor space with 63 per cent now claiming to have a shed. There are 15m shed owners living across the UK.

Are you a cool East End shed owner? Well we’ve found the competition for you. To celebrate National Shed Week (week beginning July 2) Cuprinol have launched the Shed 0f the Year 2012, a search for the UK’s most wacky and wonderful sheds.

Entries to the competition are now open, inviting shed owners to enter their quaintest and quirkiest shed creations, for a chance to win a £1,000 cash prize.

To view entries or to enter a shed simply visit www.readersheds.co.uk. Entries close on May 20 when the public are given the chance to vote for their favourite shed. It’s then up to the Shed of the Year panel including ‘Head Sheddie’ Uncle Wilco and celebrity shed fan Sarah Beeny to pick the winner from eight finalists.

Kathryn Ledson, Cuprinol Marketing Manager says: “The humble shed is no longer just a convenient storage solution as we’re seeing younger people use them as an extension of the home.  Whether it a recording studio, playing host to the six nations or a peaceful retreat to enjoy a good book, the garden shed is now an important addition to the home and we’re excited to see the wide variety of entries we receive into this year’s Shed of the Year competition.”

The winning shed will be announced during National Shed Week.

If you have a shed you want to show off on our blog then please send photos and a description to eastendgardener[at]gmail[dot]com and we’ll get them on the site.

By Natasha Wynarczyk. Photo by Harriet Lucy Yeomans under a CC licence

PLANT PLANTS: an urban gardening manifesto

This cheeky graffiti brightens my walks to and from university. This morning, as my garden lay neglected under a layer of frost, it felt like a call to arms.

So here is the East End Gardener’s urban gardening manifesto…

Anyone can be an urban gardener

You don’t need to be a horticulturalist with acres of land and shelves full of plant encyclopaedias. Thanks to the internet, and wonderful blogs like ours, anyone can learn how to look after plants.

Everyone has the right to a green space

We want allotments, community gardens, parks, green rooftops and urban farms for all. Seek them out, fight for more and use the ones you have.

There’s no space too small

The Pothole Gardener proves that even the tiniest crack in the concrete can be home to nature. Think creatively and make the most of your balconies, window sills and rooftops.

Eat home grown

It’s good for you and good for the environment. Try eating something home grown every day, whether it’s spuds from a community allotment or basil clipped from our windowsill herb box.

And above all, PLANT PLANTS!

By Hannah Bass

5 good reads for urban gardening: January 2012

Tulips snow winter urban gardening London

The East End Gardener is back after a winter break and ready to welcome the first hints of spring with crocuses and snowdrops.

Here are some of the top reads from the web this month to get you back in the green-fingered mood. Just click on the titles to go straight to the article.

Gardening trend predictions for 2012
MyGardenSchool, blogging for Huffington Post UK, predicts a return to the wild in 2012, with fewer lawns, more shrubs and greater concern for our environmental impact. Thought-provoking post, shame about the grammar…

The revolution will be composted: adventures in radical gardening
We’ve always known that gardeners are sexy and now here’s the proof. The Guardian’s gardening blog is setting out to profile rebel gardeners. They’ve already name-checked East End Gardener favourite, the Hackney FARM:shop  – we can’t wait to see who else is coming up.

Gardens of Eden: the heavenly horticulture blossoming on roofs high above the city
Some divine visual inspiration, courtesy of the Daily Mail – who’da thought it? Some of the most beautiful images are of roof gardens in our beloved London. Oh how we wish the Big Smoke would take a tip from Stuttgart in Germany, where roof gardens have been required for all flat-roofed buildings since 1989.

Winter allotment tips and what to grow now
Lucky enough to have nabbed an allotment? Live Urban Love Rural blog has some top tips for January planting. We’re dreaming of home-grown garlic… get digging!

Ten of the best ways to get stuck into urban gardening
Was urban gardening on your list of New Year’s resolutions? Then welcome on board! The Ecologist has some great ideas for getting started – we particularly like the tips for DIY windowsill planting (and eating).

By Hannah Bass. Photo from The Green Party via Flickr under a CC licence

How to harvest your Halloween pumpkins

If you had the foresight to grow your own Halloween pumpkins, the East End Gardener has some tips for harvesting.

You should leave the pumpkins on the plant for as long as possible (although you have permission to pick some tonight for Jack O’Lanterns). You’ll know that the fruit is mature when the stem starts to crack and the skin feels hard. The best test is to give them a tap: if it makes a hollow sound then it’s ready to be picked.

Use a sharp knife to cut the fruit, leaving a long stalk. If you want to eat your pumpkins (and not just carve silly faces into them), leave them in the sun for about 10 days or indoors for4 days to fully ripen.

If you have a glut even bigger than our crowd, you’ll be pleased to hear that pumpkins can be kept for up to six months, so long as you store them in a cool, dry place. So you can enjoy pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup and pumpkin bread all the way through winter.

By Hannah Bass

How London gardeners can get a grant

Cash is up for grabs for green-fingered Londoners as Boris Johnson plans to get the city gardening.

Image by London Permaculture

The Mayor of London is giving away grants for community gardens as part of the Capital Growth programme. Budding community groups can apply for up to £750 to get their gardening idea off the ground.

The scheme aims to foster 2,012 community food growing projects in London by the year 2012. East London is already home to one success story, the Wenlock Barn Herb Garden.

Residents of Wenlock Barn housing estate, Hackney, applied for a grant in 2010. They used the money to plant a garden on a scrap of disused land on the housing estate. The garden now produces salad and herbs which are sold to local shops and restaurants.

If you’ve got a growing project in mind, you can apply for a Capital Growth grant and help make London a greener city for 2012.

By Hannah Bass.