The Thorny Issue Of Non Cultivation
By far the most hotly debated issue on our allotment site at the moment is that of ‘non cultivation’ of plots, particularly as many perennial weeds are about to go to seed. Visiting other sites and seeing pictures posted on blogs and forums I realise that we are far from alone in having a problem with this.
To clarify, I am not talking about a bit of untidiness around the edges for whatever reason, but those plots that don’t see their carer for months at a stretch. Those that pitch up on receipt of a letter to chuck on a bit of weed killer, strim and then disappear into the ether until the next time.
I waited over two and a half years for my plot but through that time reasoned that if the site was so popular that when one did finally become available I could at least expect it to be in a reasonable state.
Of course those of you who’ve been involved in this for many years can now have a good chuckle at my naivety. As it happens it could have been a lot worse but given I got the plot in late April and didn’t want to waste another growing season it also could have been a lot better. Even with all the help I was lucky enough to receive, it was still pretty much a full time job for the first two months to get half of it in a good enough condition to grow and this didn’t even begin to deal with the twenty square metres of rubble, metal pipes, broken glass, carrier bags etc. that we had to clear from the back.
Our lease tells us to ‘Keep the garden weed free, rubbish free and properly maintained at all times’ whilst the Code of Conduct outlines a procedure for dealing with instances where this does not happen. In essence three strikes and out. However the interpretation of this differs widely. A year to get a plot in order, fifty percent cultivated, fine as long as it’s kept tidy, being just some of the views I have heard expressed over the past couple of weeks.
So I do wonder what the root of the problem is: a lack of consensus on what the specified regulations mean or a process that is not firm enough to deal with the issue? I also wonder about all those who are waiting patiently for their opportunity to have an allotment and what they would have to say.