Allotment Etiquette

etiquettebook_smLook after the communal areas – in order to improve the appearance of communal areas such as the car park, all members of the society need to refrain from dumping rubbish – small quantities taken home regularly can be disposed of easily. Dumping rubbish in communal areas or on vacant plots creates a problem that is time consuming and expensive to rectify. If you have ‘inherited’ some bulky items that you need to throw out and you are having problems dealing with them, contact the plot stewards for help. Redbridge Council provides us with one skip a year and we sometimes purchase an additional skip, this should be sufficient if everyone helps by removing rubbish regularly.

Light bonfires appropriately – bonfires are allowed between 1st October and 30th April on your allotment, but with this right, comes the responsibility to be considerate. Remember not to light a bonfire on a windy afternoon, or when there are many people on site who could be affected by it. A face-full of smoke could definitely ruin someone’s day on the allotment and make you look very inconsiderate.

Keep the water clean – the water butts have a supply of clean water continuously filling them up. However, if you wash your tools or boots in the dipping tanks, the water that is meant to be used for watering crops, will soon become contaminated.
Be careful with chemicals – people on our site use mainly organic means of cultivation and we encourage this as much as possible. If you do need to use chemicals at any time, then ensure that you don’t let yours get onto other people’s land. You may not mind spraying your crops against various pests, but your neighbours may not be so happy to have this spray on their plants! Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Keep weeds under control – if you let weeds get out of control on your plot, they’ll creep onto other people’s land or their seeds will be blown onto other people’s plots – thistle is a particular problem!

Take precautions with invasive plants – take care when cultivating any plant that grows very large, or is invasive. If you put them on the border between your plot and another, they’re likely to sap the moisture out of your neighbours’ earth, as well as creeping onto their land. Likewise, think carefully about siting blackberry and raspberry bushes along the edge of your plot as they can soon become a nuisance to the person that shares your pathway.

Avoid other people’s plots – there are times when you can only get to your plot via other people’s, so in these moments, try to find an established path through, keep to the edges and watch out for any tell-tale signs of plant growth to avoid. Trudging all over people’s plants or walking on their soil and compacting the ground is a guaranteed way to make yourself unpopular, so taking the long way round is always a better course of action.

Be a good neighbour – being a good ‘allotment’ neighbour is the same as being a good neighbour generally. The golden rule is to be considerate, if your neighbours like to unwind in peace and quiet on their allotment, keep the noise down. If they love to chat, humour them and be friendly. Treat people how you’d like to be treated yourself and you’re sure to make some good friends. For most people days out on the allotment should be a relaxing, enjoyable and stress-relieving experience.