Down at the allotment with Diane Bulley

Diane Bulley
Diane Bulley

Gardening is a scientific subject. An interest in plants, weather conditions and wildlife can last for a lifetime. It is also a very complicated subject.

From huge pumpkins down to the smallest Alpine plant, every plant belongs to a species. It has been given a Latin name.

Accounts of the plant hunters of Victorian times are well worth reading.

How they kept plants alive in ‘Wardian cases’ on the decks of sailing ships, coming home from the other side of the world, in the early 19th century, is fascinating.

People think allotment gardening is all about digging. It’s not.

Allotment land is a recreational amenity; available to all.

People think it’s a cheap way of getting vegetables, which are easily available at supermarkets.

It is neither cheap nor easy.

It’s for people who enjoy open-air life, being involved with plants. People who like a challenge that they can pursue individually. Who know that attempting to grow organic vegetables in built-up areas, without the use of chemical sprays, is virtually impossible.

Open field gardening is different. Certain plants can be used to combat pests. Soil can be treated to clear disease. There is no need for chemical sprays.

As with any new interest, it’s best to start in a small way. Gather information when it is available and take notes.

Kettering Allotments Association Committee now only lets half of vacant plots to new tenants, about five poles. This is very good.

It gives the beginners more time to learn. To clear the land ready for next spring. To make a ‘blank canvas’ for the plants they plan to grow. To find new friends.

Information about current rents is available from the field steward, as these vary seasonally.

Vacancy details can be obtained on the Kettering Allotments Association website; or from Kettering Council’s offices.

You will be notified when your application is successful.

Allotment gardening is not a game of one-upmanship, or celebrity status.

It is an adventure in personal contentment. For those of us who love it.