Frequently asked questions
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.
What are the benefits of an allotment?
An allotment can provide tasty fruit and vegetables free from chemicals, plastic wrapping and with zero food miles. There are health benefits to the exercise and fresh air as well as the quality of the produce. Gardening has also been shown to improve mental health and a plot provides a place to relax, spend time alone or with family and friends. Many sites have supportive and friendly communities, offering help and advice as well as friendship and company. There can also be economic benefits as well, particularly if you grow normally expensive crops such as asparagus or blueberries. You are not allowed to sell any allotment produce, but sharing it with family and friends can make you very popular (although sometimes there can be too much of a good thing!)
How big is an allotment?
A standard allotment plot is approximately 10 ‘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, this is a lot of work (and produce!) for one or two people and not everyone wants this large a plot, most of our sites have some smaller plots (about half size or 5 rods). You can request a smaller plot when you submit your application for an allotment. You can also share a plot with a family member or friend (who lives in Guildford Borough), but will need to be registered as joint tenants when you accept your plot. Each tenant may hold a maximum of 20 rods.
How much does it cost?
The current charges for an allotment are:
- £3.40 per rod rent (£1.10 per 10 square Metres)
- £2.10 per rod water charge (£0.84 per 10 square Metres)
- £5.00 per tenant/co-tenant admin & insurance charge (includes membership of NAS)
- £20 refundable key deposit (on most sites)
Senior Citizens (Ladies over 60 & Men over 65 ) receive a 50% discount on the rent portion of their bill, up to 10 rods maximum.
Other costs to be considered are for plants and seeds, possibly compost or manure and tools (although these are often available second hand or can be borrowed from friends or other plot holders).
How do I apply for an allotment?
click to see more
What can I grow?
Practically any variety of fruit and vegetables 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.
How much time and effort are required?
It can be hard work, especially at the beginning. It is important to be realistic about the amount of time you can commit to your plot. Once in good condition a general rule-of-thumb is that an allotment requires about 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 from about April to October. You will have to visit during winter months too to keep an eye on your plot even if no winter crops are planted. Once your crops start to grow, the necessary weeding, watering and harvesting are more of a pleasure than hard work.
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 and watering can 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 are many books and websites with advice and information.
Is there a social side to allotmenting?
Most tenants are friendly and welcome newcomers. Some sites have informal groups which undertake site projects such as rubbish clearance. Some sites have community areas, and many arrange occasional barbecues or bonfire nights.
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 by Parish Councils, and you should contact them directly.
What are my responsibilities?
There are long waiting lists and more demand than supply of allotments in Guildford so you must use your plot, underuse is an unfair waste of a scarce resource. 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 follow your tenancy rules (see documents page) 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. Try to attend the AGM.