Song of the Allotment

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

So what does the word Allotment originate from? Well the word became commonly used towards the end the late 1500s specifically as a description for a small piece of land that you can rent and use for growing vegetables or more generally as part of an amount of something that is given to someone. The there was me thinking it was an anagram of my land "ment a lot" to me. . . (sorry)!

A shed on the allotment
The shed rescued from the Skip

By definition allotments have been around for a long time as simple plots of land rented, worked on and loved by an individual for the growing of whatever he or she saw fit. However for many renters their land served as a place of sanctuary away from the busy and crowded inner cities from where the majority of allotment owners lived.

If you want more information on the history of the Allotment or if your interest goes further, and you are looking for a bit of training then please visit Learning with the Experts.

Well as we all know before you enter the allotment you have to sing the “allotment song”

I used to have an allotment and it meant a lot to me I used to have an allotment and it meant a lot to me There were rows of fruit and vegetables as far as you could see It meant a lot, meant a lot, me old allotment. He said ‘Listen Grandson. I’ll show you how it’s done. Come round after tea tomorrow and we can have some fun. And when I got there, there was soil everywhere He’d dug up his lawn and flowers and was resting in a chair

So once I had managed to master the lyrics I set about understanding what taking on an allotment involves?

Man in a shed on an allotment
What goes on in the shed, stays in the shed!

I visited a local plot owned by my two retired uncles Roger and Chris. Roger unfortunately had to retire early due to having half his leg amputated due to a scaffolding accident so his three sons thought an allotment would keep him active and fit whilst also having a hobby. The local council offer these plots on a yearly basis and cost £20 per year, which I thought was a bargain, but other councils may approach this differently.

Chris does most of the digging but when it comes to planting Roger is in a league of his own as he uses his wooden leg to make the holes to plant the seeds!! What a genius idea!

In all seriousness these plots take some looking after and tons of hard work. The guys try to do it on a shoestring budget by utilising all manner of things like electrical cabling, scaffold netting and even the shed they have was just about to be thrown in a skip when it was rescued by them and made into their little home to have a drink and relax after a few hours hard labour.

So, what is easy to grow and the most popular allotment fruit and veg?

Chris says, that tomatoes, lettuce beetroot and runner beans are the usual crops you see but they have a go at anything really. This year we have planted some fennel, kohlrabi, also known as a German turnip, and sweetcorn. It just needs plenty of watering with some loving and tender care. You can grow anything really if you put your mind to it. Look at what other people are growing as well to give you a good indicator as what grows best.

Roger reckons this last 6 months through lockdown have been tough but without the ability to go to their plot a few times a week it would have been a whole lot worse!

There is a real community feel about having an allotment and the feeling of getting out into the fresh air everyday and taking an interest in your plot is something well worth considering if you have the time and want to meet like minded people from all walks of life.

So get your wellies on be prepared for some good exercise and don’t be afraid to ask for help as there is always someone to lend a hand a give some words of advice and remember to learn the song!!

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