Your Allotment - crop close-up

How Your Allotment came about

Your Allotment was launched in July 2011 to provide the sort of magazine I wanted to read myself. I got my quarter-plot in 2009, not knowing much about allotments at all. I had grown herbs, salad and cherry tomatoes in my window box, but really I was - and still am - a complete novice.

I had a few books on allotment gardening, but somehow they didn't quite give me the information I needed, in language I could understand. What, I wondered, was mulch? And chit? And do you dig in the spring or the autumn, or both? There was no magazine devoted to allotments sold on the newsstands or in garden centres and I didn't know about the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Growers. I drove everyone on my site mad with my questions.

Contradictory advice

In addition, the advice I got often contradicted, or at least differed from, the books I was reading. People would say 'we have clay soil here, so you have to do things this way', or 'it's much warmer here than in many parts of the country, so you can plant that earlier (or later)'. I began to realise that there is more than one way to grow a carrot, and gardeners have to pay a lot more attention to their local conditions if they want to grow successfully.

As I began talking to people, searching for advice and information, I found that every allotment site is different, and every grower has his or her own way of doing things. And people are really interested in how other people grow, and how other sites are managed and what they offer. So many growers are fascinating individuals, with so much to offer other gardeners. And allotment societies can often pick up ideas from other sites. I also recognised that the allotment community is just that - a community with a shared purpose, shared ethos, and shared interest.

Learning from fellow-growers

Having been a journalist all my life, it seemed logical to combine my professional skills wtih my interest in allotments to provide a mouthpiece for the allotment community, somewhere where readers can learn about and from other growers and to share advice, information and suggestions. By adding local news pages, it also brings together any local information relevant to allotments and their members.

Initially, Your Allotment covered Barnet, Camden and Haringey. Then Enfield was added, and now we cover the whole of North London. As it stands, Your Allotment will never be expanded outside of North London, because I believe a community has defined boundaries, but if anyone wants to start a Your Allotment edition in their area, I would be happy to talk to them about franchising the publication so they can engage with their local allotment community in the same way I hope I am doing in my home patch.

Happy growing!

 

Marcia MacLeod