Why have an allotment?

allotments2Good question. What are they for? Well, clearly for growing fruit and vegetables and flowers but also for getting out into the open air, away from home, for meeting other allotmenteers, for staying fit and healthy.

If you care about wildlife consider this: your plot could be a little haven for insects by making a pile of stones and leaving them untouched, for putting up a beehive or two, for leaving out a dish of water in hot weather for birds.

It’s a place where children can learn about nature and have a plot of their own for digging and planting seeds and getting dirty. And being away from their phones and tablets!

In 1873 there were a quarter of a million plots in this country, rising to a million and a half in 1918 but numbers recorded in 2009 had fallen to 300,000. Many people in towns and cities across the country have to join a waiting list for an allotment these days and they treasure them, keeping them in the family for years if possible.

In Shipton we are lucky to have allotments to spare and we have some available now. There are large ones, half plots and quarters too, according to what is required – lack of time means a lot of people prefer a much smaller area. We also have some raised beds for those who have difficulty bending. Efforts are being made by the Parish Council to clean up the site and make it more appealing.

There is an organisation called MUWAGA – Milton under Wychwood Allotments and Gardens Association – where there are talks on gardening once a month and the opportunity to access local discounts. Membership of MUWAGA is a boon to allotmenteers and costs only £5 p.a. Those discounts include 10% off plants at Burford Garden Centre and the same at Ivy’s, Groves (seed sales only) and Applegarth nursery. Perhaps the best deal is a 50% discount on Kings Seeds when they are ordered through the club; that saving alone pays for the annual membership fee.

Milton has an allotment site on Bruern Road and enquiries about vacancies should go to the clerk of the parish council on 830007. The annual cost for an allotment there is £10 per annum.

Shipton’s are on the Swinbrook Road, for those who are new to the Wychwoods, and there’s a public footpath right across the middle so you could walk up there and have a look. The cost is £20 for a full plot- they are enormous, £10 for half etc. per year. Enquiries for these allotments to Jill Mavin – 831091.

So as Spring finally arrives, there’s no excuse to avoid the well-known order: ‘You should get out more.’

Jill Mavin

April – May 2019