This page contains answers to some of the questions we are often asked about allotments and details of how to apply for your own. Please contact us for more information.
What is an allotment?
For over a hundred years it has been the responsibility of local authorities to provide plots of land for local residents to cultivate. There are over a quarter of a million allotments in England and Wales, with 13 GAS allotment sites in Guildford.
Why should I get an allotment?
An allotment can provide fresh air, exercise, and tasty fruit and vegetables free from chemicals and with zero food miles. It can also help to reduce the family’s food budget. There’s no tax on what you grow and consume. Gardening is always challenging so it provides a stimulus for body and mind. Your plot provides a place to relax, spend time alone or with family and friends.
How big is an allotment?
A standard allotment plot is approximately ten ‘rods’, or approximately 250 square metres. This is roughly the size of a tennis court, so has plenty of space to grow lots of crops. However, not everyone wants this large a plot, and most of our sites have some smaller plots which are available occasionally. You can request a smaller plot when
you submit your application for an allotment. Send an email to admin after submitting the application form.
How much does it cost?
The current charges for an allotment are:
- £2.75 per rod rent (£1.10 per 10 square Metres)
- £2.10 per rod water charge (£0.84 per 10 square Metres)
- £3.50 per tenant admin & insurance charge
For a standard ten rod plot this works out at £52 per year for a single tenant. The cost will vary for different sized plots, or where there are joint tenants on a plot.
Senior Citizens (Ladies over 60 & Men over 65 ) receive a 50% discount on the rent portion of their bill, up to 10 rods maximum.
What can I grow?
Practically any variety of fruit and vegetables suitable for the soil on your plot and flowers of course. These must be for your own use, the sale of produce grown on our allotment plots is not permitted. Restrictions apply to fruit Trees which must be on a dwarfing rootstock and permission obtained before planting.
Is it hard work?
Yes. It can be hard work, especially at the beginning, but you can get family and friends to help. The general rule-of-thumb is that an allotment requires one hour per week per rod. This means for a full-sized plot you’ll need to spend on average ten hours a week working your plot to keep it in good condition. You need to remember that you will have to visit during winter months too to keep things tickng over even if no winter crops are planted.
Once your plot is dug and your crops start to grow, the necessary weeding, watering and harvesting are more of a pleasure than hard work. It’s more exciting and rewarding than a workout at the gym!
What tools do I need?
Surprisingly little to start off with, although you may wish to add to your equipment as time goes on. A spade, fork ,hoe and rake are the basic tools needed.
Where can I get advice?
Your best source of advice is from experienced gardeners on your site. They know the soil ,what grows best in it and how to work it. Each site has different soil which suits different crops. There is a multitude of books and online advice available for both novice and experienced gardeners alike.
Is there a social side to allotmenting?
There can be. Most tenants are friendly and welcome newcomers. Some sites have informal groups which work for the common good. There is one formal site self help group – WASHA – on Aldershot Road. A big benefit of a formal group is better accessibility to funding for site projects. If you wish to start up a group on your site, please inform the warden and GAS committee before you begin. Advice is available.
Where is my nearest site?
GAS has 13 allotment sites around Guildford, so you should be able find one near you. There are also other sites in villages in the borough which are managed separately from GAS, generally by Parish Councils, and you should contact them directly.
What are my responsibilities?
In today’s climate of overwhelming demand for plots and inadequate provision of land for allotments, you must use your plot. People waiting for plots consider that underuse is an unfair waste of a scarce commodity. GAS tries to ensure that tenants do not take on more land than they can cultivate and anyone not actively cultivating their plot may lose it.
You are responsible for keeping your plot tidy and free of weeds.You must obey your tenancy rules which are also displayed onsite as well as on this website and will be sent to you with your tenancy agreement . Show concern for your fellow tenants. Lock gates after you. Don’t block paths. Pull your weight to make your site a better place for all. Each site has a volunteer warden and most wardens need help at times. Overall management of Guildford’s allotment sites is entirely reliant on volunteers. Can you help with this?
How do I get an allotment?
You can apply for an allotment online.