How much time does it take up?
Once established the amount of time spent will depend on the individual’s circumstances. Some like to be there almost every day and others just once a week. However, according to a survey carried out this year the average time is approximately 4 hours a week in the winter and about 8 to 10 hours in the summer. There are times when this will be exceeded as the sowing and planting time in the spring requires a bit more time.
How much does it cost?
Rent on a 10-pole plot is currently £20 a year. The average amount spent a year for seeds, plants and plot rent is £65. This does not include tools which may need to be purchased but of course they will last for years. Also not included in this figure is one-off expenses that some plot holders might wish to incur such as manure, sheds, cloches etc.
Most allotment holders will make significant savings on fruit and vegetables throughout the year.
Where are the allotments?
Kennington Allotments are situated between the A34 and the Oxford to London railway line. Access is gained through secured gates at Redbridge Hollow and once you are through the second gate the whole allotment area is a peaceful haven!
Is there a lot of waste?
Naturally there can be an excess of some crops but most enthusiasts will swap items or give them to friends and neighbours. Some are known to ‘trade’ items with friends who fish. A lot of produce can be frozen for consumption later in the year and some can be made into chutney, salsa, jams and jellies etc. Some can be juiced (which can also be frozen). As waste food is a national issue at present the point to think about is that if you do throw away a couple of courgettes because you have too many one week the cost is probably a couple of pence – the cost of throwing away the same purchased from a shop will be closer to a pound – so waste is not an issue.
What about pests?
Unfortunately it cannot be denied that there are pests associated with any type of gardening but it just needs managing.
To keep completely organic the use of pesticides should be avoided but some are allowed within the International Organic regulations.
Crops can be further protected by netting etc. Worms, slugs can be a nuisance but there many ways that they can be safely controlled. Some crops need to be protected from birds. Most of our plots are fences to protect from rabbits.
Is there a toilet?
Yes we have a eco toilet for everyone’s use.
What’s the soil like?
As the site is very close to the Thames and subsidiary streams it has excellent soil due to flood waters bringing down alluvium over centuries.
Does it get flooded?
There are a few plots at the bottom of the hill that we no longer let because of flooding, but on the whole this site is less affected by flooding than many other allotments in Oxford. Work by the Environment Agency in the area has helped to bring the flooding under control. In some years insufficient rain can be a problem but we have mains water supply in tanks close to all the plots.