Allotment cultivation guidelines

See Allotment Tenancy Agreement and allotment rules:

  • Cultivated means the plot needs to be planted, cropped, and harvested or being prepared. It is not enough to keep your plot clear of weeds, but then to leave it unplanted.
  • Rule 3, ‘You are responsible…’ means that cultivation is carried out by the tenant and that, if help is obtained from others, the tenant is present to supervise most of the time. If, for any reason, the tenant  cannot be present when others are cultivating the plot, then prior permission must be sought from the site manager. If this is not obtained, then the tenant will be deemed to be in breach of this rule.

Main growing season

In the main growing season, the following is expected (rules 4, 7, 8, 22, 25):

  • The plotholder on site at least once a week
  • Fruit, vegetables, or flowers being grown
  • Lawn and grass paths bordering plots mowed and trimmed
  • No weeds going to seed and causing problems for other plotholders
  • No brambles or couch grass creeping around the plot
  • Fruit trees must be actively cultivated for example pruned, and pest protection deployed, and the fruit must be harvested, and windfalls cleared up
  • Failure to comply with the above points will render the plotholder liable to a Non-Cultivation (NC) and Notice to Quit (NTQ) order.

Winter months

In the winter months, the following is expected:

  • As above (but less fruit, veg and flowers)
  • Beds dug over ready for the winter frost
  • Green manures being grown
  • Growing areas being prepared (and covered to keep weeds down)
  • If ‘no dig’ methods are being used - a clean bed with no weeds
  • Plot tidied, all excess materials and rubbish cleared
  • Failure to comply with the above points will render the plotholder liable to a Non-Cultivation (NC) and Notice to Quit (NTQ) order.

Cultivation area

As per rules 4, 5, 10, 13, 22, 25:

  • In the first three months of growing season, usually March to May, at least 25% (a quarter) of the plot should be cultivated
  • After six months of the growing season up to 50% (half) of the plot would expect to be cultivated
  • After 1 year 75% (three-quarters) must be cultivated 
  • From the second year onwards, 75% or more of the plot must be cultivated during the growing season
  • Areas of a plot which are covered for example  by tarpaulin or cardboard are not considered to be cultivated
  • Up to 10% of the total area of the plot can be used for a shed and/or composting area and/or water storage. Greenhouses or polytunnels can cover a larger area provided they are used for cultivation and not storage
  • If the plotholder is engaged in wildlife gardening or similar such that their plot may appear to be non-cultivated, they must seek prior approval from the site manager
  • Trees must be managed in accordance with rule 13
  • Failure to comply with the above points will render the plotholder liable to a Non-Cultivation (NC) and Notice to Quit (NTQ) order.

Materials or rubbish

As per rules 12 and 25:

  • There must not be excessive waste materials or rubbish on the plot covering no more than 5% of the plot
  • Plotholders must advise the Site Manager by what date they intend to use materials or to clear rubbish on their plot. At the request of the site manager, the items must be labelled with that date and a date agreed for rubbish clearance
  • Failure to use the materials or to clear rubbish by the agreed date will deem the plotholder liable to a Non-Cultivation (NC) and Notice to Quit (NTQ) order.

Other reasons for NC or NTQ orders (rule 17)

  • Threatening behaviour or assault
  • Damage to or interference with other plotholders plots or property
  • Damage to or interference with householders’ property bordering the site.

Mitigation

  • If a tenant is suffering from a serious illness that prevents them from gardening, or caring for an immediate family member, the notice will be suspended for one growing season. (A growing season is defined as the spring and summer period of any given year.) They must inform the site manager in the first instance. Failure to inform the site manager in the first instance will deem the plotholder liable to a Non-Cultivation (NC) and Notice to Quit (NTQ) order
  • A tenant who is either pregnant or nursing a child up to the age of six months will be excused the requirement to cultivate the allotment for a maximum period of two growing seasons, subject to the condition that the allotment is managed to avoid the spread of weeds (that is, the allotment is covered, sown with a green manure or any weeds are regularly cut down)
  • Lack of time due to work, travel, children, or other commitments are not valid reasons for failing to meet acceptable standards of cultivation.