Making the most of your plot
1.1 What do I have to do on my plot?
The standards of cultivation are set by the Council and apply to all Council owned sites across the Borough.
- In the first three months on site, at least 25% of the plot should be cultivated
- After six months of taking a tenancy, up to 50% of the plot should be cultivated
- After twelve months, 75% of the plot should be cultivated
- In year two and beyond, a minimum of 75% of the plot should be cultivated
- 10% of the plot can be taken up with a shed, composting area and water storage
1.2 What does cultivation mean?
1.3 What should I do about weeds?
1.4 What help can I get with digging or planning my plot?
1.5 What can I grow on my plot?
Vegetables, herbs, fruit bushes and dwarf stock fruit trees (these grow 2-3m high. They are easier to harvest and won’t overshadow your plot).
Fruit trees and bushes must be planted so that they don’t overshadow your neighbours’ plots or impede pathways. At least 1metre from any pathway or boundary is sensible.
You can also grow flowers, dig a pond, and have an area for recreation, but your plot must retain its purpose, as a place to grow crops.
1.6 What can’t I grow?
Please do not plant any trees except dwarf stock fruit trees.
Why can’t I plant other shrubs and trees? Because they will grow and be difficult to dig up, cut down or remove if they start to hinder cultivation. When planting, think about the future of our site.
1.7 What should I do about trees already on my plot?
1.8 Can I keep bees?
1.9 Can I bring my dog on site?
Dogs are welcome on site but must be kept under control at all times and not allowed to stray onto other plotholders plots.
Safety and Security
2.1 What do I do if I have an accident or someone else has an accident?
2.2 Do I have to lock the gates?
The gates should be kept locked at all times. Sadly we do suffer from petty theft and fly-tipping of rubbish from time to time. If you have difficulty in locking a padlock, please let us know and we will check if it needs replacing.
2.3 What do I do if I see evidence of theft, vandalism or other crime?
2.4 Can I invite visitors to my plot?
You are welcome to invite visitors to the site. You are responsible for their conduct on site so please ensure that they are familiar with the site rules. In particular, no-one is permitted onto another plotholder’s plot without their express permission.
2.5 What should I do if I see someone I don’t know on site?
It is easy to jump to conclusions about people who you do not recognize so please be polite at all times, introduce yourself and ask if you can help them.
2.6 Can I drink the water onsite?
2.7 Why is the water turned off in the winter
2.8 What do I do if I notice a leaking tap or pipe?
Please report it immediately to a site co-ordinator or by email to email@example.com. The Council is responsible for the maintenance of the water system on site and will usually respond to leaks quickly.
2.9 What are the rules regarding bonfires or other burning onsite?
Bonfires and other burning onsite is currently prohibited. This may change as the Covid restrictions ease but
2.10 Can I have a barbecue?
Barbecues are similarly prohibited (see 2.9)
2.11 Is parking allowed on the allotment site?
Improving your plot
3.1 Can I build a shed?
A shed or other structure needs permission before it is installed. The main issues that need to be considered are:
- Is the size of shed appropriate to the site of the plot?
- Does the proposed location have an impact on neighbouring plots, particularly in terms of creating shade?
- Are the foundations easily removable by future tenants? No concrete is permitted nor bulk materials for a sub-base.
3.2 What can I do about rubbish on my plot?
You are responsible for removing any rubbish from your plot. Certain items that are surplus to your requirement and that may be of use to other plotholders can be left by the notice board at Ranelagh Road Gate. This is our designated re-use/re-cycle point. It is not intended as a dumping ground, however, and rotten wood/broken plastic or glass is not to be left here.
3.3 Can I put up a greenhouse, poly tunnel or fruit cage?
Yes, all of these are treated as cultivation structures and are welcome. Please consider any impact on neighbours, however, in choosing a site for any such structure.
3.4 What can I do about organic waste such as weeds and pruning?
You are responsible for dealing with any organic waste arising from your plot. Most plotholders have a compost area for green waste. Perennial weeds or woody waste will need to be separated and there are various options for how you might deal with them:
- Woody waste may be chipped for mulch or pathways; it may be collected to form insect habitats; longer lengths can be used to construct a dead hedge; it can be taken offsite to a Council recycling centre or for disposal within your domestic green waste collection
- Perennial weeds may be composted within a hot-compost system; they may be drowned in water and then added to regular compost; they may similarly be taken offsite
3.5 Can I bring potentially useful stuff and store it until I find a use for it?
Allotment sites are full of structures made from re-cycled materials and it is normal for a certain amount to be stored on your plot. However, excessive storage is not permitted so please try to be realistic about what you are likely to use. Surplus materials may be useful to other plotholders, for example.
3.6 How can I give away surplus plants or materials for other potholders to use?
4.1 Can I use the Pavilion in the Orchard?
4.2 Is there a Toilet onsite?
There is a composting toilet next to the Pavilion in the Orchard. Please read the instructions inside the cabin carefully before use. It is important that it is kept sanitary at all times. If you are able to donate toilet paper if stock is running low
4.3 Is there a shop onsite?
4.4 Can I borrow or hire gardening tools or equipment?
4.5 Who looks after the communal areas, including pathways?
5.1 Can I get my neighbour to remove overhanging trees or plants?
5.2 What can I do about my neighbour’s weeds?
5.3 What can I do about my neighbour going over the boundary line?
5.4 What can I do if my neighbour is causing a nuisance?
5.5 Can I put up a fence around my plot?
Giving up your plot
6.1 If I move out of the Borough, do I need to give up my plot?
6.2 I want to give up my plot. What should I do?
6.3 Can I pass my plot to a friend or relative?
6.4 Can I sell my shed/tools to the new plotholder?
6.5 How do I appeal if I have been asked to give up my plot?
Wildlife and nature on site
7.1 How can I encourage beneficial insects to my plot?
7.2 How do we maintain the hedge alongside Bailiies Walk
7.3 How can I deter rats?
7.4 Can I put up a bird box or bat box?
7.5 Can I install a pond on my plot?
Looking after the site
8.1 Whose job is it to look after the site?
The maintenance of the site is carried out by volunteer plotholders. Certain specialist jobs, such as spraying of the Oak trees against Oak Processionary Moth or dealing with plumbing issues in the water system, are handled by the Council but everything else is for the site plotholders to take care of themselves. The main way that this is done is through monthly Work Parties when plotholders who are able to offer some time work together to tackle the maintenance jobs that keep the site in good condition.
8.2 When do Work Parties take place?
Work Parties are held on the first Saturday in every month, meeting at 11.00am in the Orchard. Usual duration is around 2 hours with tea and biscuits to finish. Occasionally in the Summer months, evening Work Parties are also arranged.
8.3 How do I help if I cannot attend a Work Party?
There is always lots to do on a large site like Ascott. Simple tasks such as picking up litter, emptying the dustbin in the Orchard, checking the condition of the Composting Toilet and clearing any debris that has been dumped in the hedge or by the gates all help to make the site a more pleasant place and save other volunteers from having to do that instead.
There is also a blue board in the Pavilion that lists out jobs to be done.
If in doubt, just ask.
8.4 Can I put down wood chip or carpet on the path next to my plot?
The site still suffers from the fashion a few years back to use carpet as a weed suppressant on site. Over time it becomes knitted into the ground and growth and is very difficult to extract. Please do not use carpet anywhere on the ground on the site.
The requirement is that paths between plots are grassed and kept maintained. Wood chip is not permitted on these paths although you are free to use it for pathways within the boundary of your own plot. Occasionally, during wet weather, you will see chip laid down on the main paths to soak up the water and prevent slippage. Once the risk has passed, however, the chip needs to be removed in order that the grass growth is not inhibited.