I love the allotment shop. Or shed, as it is known around here.
It took me a while to cotton on to how great the shop is. This might have been because it is only open for a few hours a week, or maybe I’ve just become programmed to do my seed shopping online with a nice cup of tea.
But there is something special about the shed, and I feel I should get behind it. It has a wonderful earthy, damp smell – like a garden centre, but better, and the profits go straight back to the plots, which is really important.
This week, I also realised that it’s pretty darn cheap as well. I got myself some DT Brown peas and mangetout for £1.40 a pack when the DT website has them for £1.69. I think this is because out plots take up the DT Brown Gardening Club offer, which certainly agrees with me – especially this year.
Many other allotment associations do this too, so it’s worth checking out your shop to see if the seeds are cheaper than the local stores and garden centres.
Last year, I got some DT Brown Spring Hero F1 for the princely sum of £1.05. On the DT Brown website this year, they’re £1.89!
There is also a big basket of old, out of date seeds. Some go back as far as 2003, but for 10p, I haven’t always been able to resist the temptation.
And of course, probably the greatest thing about the shed is Ron and Val, who run it, and the advice they freely give out. I bought a pound mildew resistant Santero F1 onion sets for £3, as Ron grew them on his plot last year and said they did really well.
Advice on what veg grows well, by someone who has grown it on the same site as me? I like my garden centre, but I wouldn’t get that sort of knowledge there!
Nor would you get the community. When I wander into the shop, there is often a group of people sat on the old chair chewing the cud. They normally take the mickey out of me for being a relative newby, but I don’t really. I kind of like it.
It took me a while to work it out, but the shop’s as much a part of allotment life as the plots themselves, and long may it flourish.