Not a Lot of Problems on Allotments

BUT... occasionally there are tensions on allotment plot turfs and they can be real doozies, from wayward goats to outright pumpkin kicking (ouch)!

Goat eating leaves from allotment gardens

"You have besmirched the good name and good standing of the association and brought the allotment movement as a whole, into disrepute."
... wrote a local committee in Heanor, Derbyshire, UK, to an allotment owner.

According to research from the legal department, no less, of The National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners (NSALG), there is a catalogue of disputes about thieves, vagabonds, fraudsters and unmentionables and the dastardly deeds they did.

The allure of gardening has been with us since, probably, some hunter gatherer's wife said, I'm sick of lugging the baby around, let's stay put. So they did and learned how good it was to grow their own food.

The intrigue of wondering what surprises nature has in store for us still holds, although now, it's not dangerous if our tomatoes get frostbite, because there's a shop down the road.

For those who don't have their own garden — allotments or community plots to grow fruit and vegetables are the answer.

In UK alone, there are now more than 150,000 allotments, with waiting lists totalling 87,000, according to NSALG. They are part of an International Society which represents over 3.5 million allotment gardeners in Northern Europe.

USA and many other countries have numbers that are equally impressive, usually using the term community gardens or plots.

"Who poisoned my prize-winning pumpkin!"

"Your weeds are invading my plot!"

"There's the boundary, not there!"

"If we all slept in our sheds like you, this place would look like a hostel!"

And well a plot holder might yell at another plot holder if the yeller's veggies were threatened, wouldn't you?

Some reasons...

  • Allotment holders living in their sheds even going so far as building lavatories out the back of their plots — basically by digging a hole in the ground.
  • Plot holders adding to their sheds to make elaborate structures, building summer houses, getting mechanical diggers in for a pond, encroaching onto nearby public property such as car parks.
  • Stealing, or even eating on the spot, another gardener's produce (that's low).
  • Worse... poisoning veggies in another's plot. (Send them to Siberia, where their punishment is being unable to grow anything).
  • Illegal livestock on plots; including dogs, chickens, bees, ducks, geese, goats, pigs and even horses and bees. (Shame no cats to keep them all in order).
  • Drunk gardeners and their anti-social behaviour (gardening whilst drunk can lead to irreparable damage)!
  • Bonfires, with one complaint that a gardener destroyed a neighbour's crops after he set light to his own plot to get rid of weeds.

Then sometimes it's all above board... but different gardening methods can drive plot holders mad.

"Bert, your plot has pests and I don't want to see them in my plot so do something about them."

"Margaret, how dare you let your spray drift onto my organic plot."

When it looks like everyone is about to burst their beetroots, that's when authorities step in. Sadly they have to bring in some old school rules.

"Bronwyn, you are hereby transferred to another allotment site altogether."

"Roy, you are not allowed to step foot inside these gardens before noon. Entry via Dingle Rd gate only."

"Heather, your hours are restricted from sunrise to noon, and please exit by the back gate."

Shed on Allotment Mr Plod in the Plots: Gasp, physical violence in the garden plots! The police have been called and court cases have sometimes followed.

"Hello, hello, hello, what on earth is causing this ruckus?"

It seems that...

A dispute between allotment holders in Beckbury, near Wolverhampton, has its roots in a vegetable growing contest.

Peter Glaze planted his six hopefuls for the competition in secret locations this year after accusing a rival, Barry Truss, of putting his foot through a pumpkin and upending his shallots.

Other holders have even accused Mr Truss of using his dog to sniff out pumpkins hidden from him.

Mr Truss, a plot holder for 30 years, denies the allegations but has admitted to cheating in last year's contest by pumping his 186lb prize-winning pumpkin full of water and then using a bung to hide the tell-tale hole.

And what about Hilaire Purbrick, who is among a number of allotment holders evicted from his plot for living on it. Hilaire, the "eco warrior" had even dug a 7ft deep cave beneath the surface of his Brighton allotment to use as a "meditation space".

Although he also had a double bed, bunk bed, stove, desk, and a gas hob, he was eventually evicted for breaching health and safety because the cave did not have a fire escape.

And finally the tale of a couple whose garden did so well they started a business selling their produce and conducting guided garden tours. You can bet your buttered parsnips all this was against allotment rules so eviction threats quickly put a stop to this enterprise.

Fun Fight on Community Garden Allotment

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