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The Allotment Pocket Bible [Hardcover]

Emma Cooper
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Product Description


An informative read in retro packaging. --Grow Your Own

From the Inside Flap

If you want to grow your own fruit, veg or flowers The Allotment Pocket Bible will reveal the secrets of a thriving allotment, from sowing and planting to cultivating and pruning.

Whether you want a helping hand choosing and planning your first allotment, or you want help making the most of your treasured plot The Allotment Pocket Bible is packed with valuable advice and practical tips, including:

-How to find the right type of plot for you
-Ways to organise and manage your plot
-A guide to greenhouses, polytunnels and other allotment kit
-Practical and exciting ways to get the kids involved
-How to garden organically and keep pests at bay

The essential guide to growing your own.

From the Back Cover

The perfect pocket companion to the world of allotments

"An hour's digging is a good way of getting one's mind back in the right perspective."
Richard Briers

"To get the best results you must talk to your vegetables."
Prince Charles

"You can't overestimate the importance of allotments."
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

"It's so important to have a space to grow your own food."
Alan Titchmarsh

"Many people want to grow their own. It's a great movement."
David Cameron

About the Author

Emma Cooper is the author of The Alternative Kitchen Garden: An A to Z and Growing Vegetables is Fun and has also contributed to the Guardian, Country Gardener and The Ecologist about growing your own produce.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


In theory there should be an allotment for everyone who wants one. In practice, there are many places with long waiting lists, and many plots that are simply too much to take on (because they're waterlogged, desperately weedy or covered in junk). Although the long waiting lists may tempt you to go for the first plot you're offered, you need to make sure it's the right one for you. In this
chapter we look at how to find the right plot for you.

Local Authorities
Your first port of call to find an allotment may be your
local authority, particularly if you're looking for an urban site. Allotments are rented out by parish, town, borough, city or district councils. If you're not sure where to start, have a look at the DirectGov website (, which has lists of the main local councils and their contact details. Most will have information about allotments, and a point of contact, listed on their website. Otherwise a quick phone call will elicit all of the information you need.

You may find that all of the local allotments are administered by the council, or that they are run by their allotment society. In this case you will need to contact the allotment secretary to find out whether plots are available and to be put on the waiting list
if not.

If you know where allotment sites are, you can also drop in. If they're actively recruiting new plotholders, the contact details will be displayed on a sign or notice board, but you can also speak to existing allotmenteers to find out about any availabilities.

A useful organisation if you're plot hunting is NSALG, the
National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners. Its website
( is packed with useful information to help you
find a plot and get growing. If you're in Scotland, you'll need to
contact SAGS, the Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society
If an allotment site is already set up on farmland then you'll need
to speak to the farmer about getting a plot - ask one of the
existing plotholders for the contact information.
If there's an unused field on your local farm, you may like to talk
to the farmer about setting up new allotments. You may have to
visit the farm in person or do some detective work to track down
the details.
For other privately owned sites, eg British Waterways or Network
Rail, you'll have to contact the landowner directly.

If you're interested in sharing a private garden, you may already know a neighbour with more space than they can care for. Otherwise there are two websites you can use to find a local garden share, or register your interest.

-Landshare ( - this is the most
well-known scheme, having been publicised by Hugh
Fearnley-Whittingstall from River Cottage.

-I Dig Allotments ( - this is another useful site.

There may be more local schemes that can help. Have a look at the notice board at the local library or community centre and see whether you're covered by a Transition Towns group (it focuses on sustainable living, including local food projects).

The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens ( can also help you find shared gardens across the UK, and its website includes a search facility. The federation also hosts the Allotments Regeneration Initiative (, which is useful if you're thinking of creating or regenerating an allotment site.

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