The Best Blooming Hobby You Can Have… An Allotment

There’s lots of reasons to have an allotment besides the obvious of growing your own amazing tasting food says Greencroft Allotment Manager, Lewis Every.

For as little as £22.50 per year, there’s an opportunity to take up one of the spare allotments at either Greencroft (by Henley Cricket Club) or Watermans (by Tesco roundabout) to grow your own fruit, vegetables and flowers.  For the first time in a few years, there’s not a waiting list and November is a great time to take over an allotment so that you can prepare the soil ready for sewing in the Spring.

Visiting Lewis at Greencroft last week where he showed us around we were surprised at how good the soil is there.  Having a small vegetable patch at home that is full of stones which is probably true of most gardens in Henley, the thought of growing vegetables in this soil definitely appealed.

If you’ve always thought an allotment is too big to manage, you can rent one as little as 2½ poles (in old money that’s 16 yards x 4 yards) or 14m x 3.5m.

Lewis who has had a plot at Greencroft since 1977.  He said, “Having an allotment is the best hobby you can have.  It’s great for the environment – providing food that’s both carbon footprint and plastic free.  When you buy from the supermarket you don’t know where most of it comes from.  Having an allotment also keeps you healthy by getting you out in the fresh air with a great workout (better than paying for a gym).  There’s a great social aspect too to having an allotment – everyone’s really friendly and if you don’t know anything you can just ask.”

What can you grow?  Well that’s up to you and even fruit trees are allowed as long as they are layered.  To help your plot grow, twice a year there’s a free load of manure delivered for you to help yourself to.  Water is on tap too, via delightful old fashioned pumps that are dotted around the Greencroft site.

You can set out your allotment in any way you like too – raised beds are allowed if you’d like to make it easier on your back and small polytunnels and small plastic greenhouses for growing on your seedlings are allowed too.  Want a shed? Well that’s OK if you have an outside plot and at Greencroft there’s a shed park area if you don’t.

Peter Anderson who has had an allotment since 1964 (originally on the Deanfield site with his Father) grows potatoes, cabbages, carrots, Brussels sprouts.  Peter said, “The best part of having an allotment for me is the fresh food.”

Having an allotment means you can also join in the Henley Allotment Association’s socials which include an annual boat trip, plant sale, bonfire night, Garden Question Time and a Christmas dinner.

To find out more contact the Henley Allotment Association via