Making the best use of the Allotment (9)
You must cultivate your plot to our minimum standards and in the first year at least one third must be cultivated, more if you are lucky enough to take over a plot in decent condition. In the second year two thirds must be cultivated, working up to a well managed plot in the third year and thereafter. However, if you feel eager to cultivate the whole plot in one year, this will be to your benefit; most tenants do.
Improving the soil by digging, composting and/or mulching and subsequently planting, sowing and growing produce, while striving to keep down the weeds. When the site is inspected, there must be evidence of planting and growing by you.
Please note that you will not achieve the minimum standard of cultivation if you do not work regularly on your plot.
The good news is, the more work you put in to start with, the easier it will get over the years! Remember, dig in compost, manure and leaf mould often.
Make sure to regularly weed your own plot, ideally by hand pulling, forking or hoeing. Please note that you are not allowed to use weed killers liberally on the plot or paths.
Most weeds are easily managed by regular weeding. There are only a few which are pernicious. These include: bindweed, ground elder, bramble, couch grass and Japanese Knotweed (luckily we don’t have the latter).
We strongly advise that you DO NOT rotovate a weed-covered plot. Rotovation will increase pernicious weeds by chopping the roots up so that they can multiply.
We also strongly discourage the use of carpet to suppress weeds. Carpets leach harmful chemicals into the soil, and are extremely difficult to remove once embedded in the ground.
The are better ways to deal with weeds are:
- Mulching your plot will help to suppress weeds. Making your own leaf mulch and compost can save money. You need to put a layer of at least 60 mm to suppress weeds.
- Porous, plastic weed matting is sold in the trading hut. If you cover grassed/weed covered areas for a season, the vegetation will break down and the ground should be much easier to dig. Waterproof tarpaulins are not recommended.
- Raised beds are often a good idea. These can be made from scraps of wood sometimes found in skips or from scaffolding planks and posts which may be purchased from the hut.
We want you to succeed, so we try to help if we can. Dig small and dig often.
Look out for the monthly tips in our newsletter so that you don’t get behind in spring. Watch what your neighbours do, and ask them, or ask any of the committee members for advice.
Walk around the site and identify different styles of allotment plots that you like. Most plot holders are happy to talk about their plots, and many will show you around. Find out what they do to have a ‘well managed plot’.
Above all, keep coming and working regularly if you want to get results.
The first thing you should do is to get in touch with Secretary to discuss the problem.
The site is inspected at least twice each year by the committee. If it looks like you are not achieving the minimum standard we will write to you to seek the reason.
You will then be given guidance on how to achieve the standards.
If you haven’t achieved the minimum when the site is inspected your tenancy may be revoked.
Vegetables, herbs, fruit bushes and dwarf stock fruit trees (these grow 2-3m high. They are easier to harvest and won’t overshadow your plot).
Fruit trees and bushes must be planted so that they don’t overshadow your neighbours’ plots.
You can also grow flowers, dig a pond, and have an area for recreation, but your plot must retain its purpose, as a place to grow crops.
DO NOT plant any trees except dwarf stock fruit trees.
Why can’t I plant other shrubs and trees? Because they will grow and be difficult to dig up, cut down or remove if they start to hinder cultivation. When planting, think about the future of our site.
Only if you have experience and are linked to the Ealing Federation of Bee Keepers. Bees which are not kept correctly are at risk, and may also swarm causing injury. There are plots designated for beekeeping. Ask a committee member for this information. If you are eligible to keep bees you can only do so on plots where this is agreed by the committee.
Approval for guide and other working dogs will be given at all times of year on application to committee. Pet dogs on leads are allowed on Site from 1st November till last day of February every year.
Safety & Security (11)
We suggest plot holders bring a few necessary items of First Aid with them and store them safely in their sheds or carry with them when visiting the allotments. Some first aid equipment is available in the unlocked shed at the back of the trading hut.
Call an ambulance if needed.
You will need to give the allotment address: Pitshanger Allotments, Pitshanger Park, Ealing, London W5
Keep your plot and surrounding paths tidy and level, to reduce the risk of accidents.
Contact the Committee if you have First Aid Certificate or are medically trained, to add your name to the volunteers who can help if needed.
Report it to Secretary to be put in the Incident Book.
You can leave the gate open on Saturday and Sunday 10-12, when the Trading Hut is open, and when annual events are taking place. You will see a notice on the gate if there is an event.
Please lock the gate every other time you arrive and leave, and also lock the gate if you find it open when you arrive or leave.
You have to lock the gate to reduce fly-tipping, vandalism and theft, and to keep your tenancy. An open gate would ‘invite’ people to wander in.
Tip: If you are coming to drop off items by car, keep your gate key in your vehicle (not on your vehicle key ring), this makes it easier and quicker to get out and lock the gate.
Call 111 (local police). If the perpetrator(s) are present, call 999 from a safe distance.
Wait for the police to arrive so that you can show them what you saw. Give them as much information as you can, especially if you saw anyone.
Inform the Secretary after, not before, you inform the police.
A plot-holder can invite up to 6 only visitors to their plot. The plot holder is responsible for the visitors’ safety. They are not allowed to wonder around the site or on any other plot. They must not pick or interfere with produce of other plots.
Don’t be afraid to ask people what they are doing. They may be plot holders you don’t know, who are looking around, or Committee members – you can easily check which plot they come from by asking a few questions. If they are members of the public please ask them politely to leave.
There are two source of water supplies. One is from the taps near your plot, which is for watering the plot. The source of this water is from a ‘borehole’ and is not recommended for drinking. For drinking purpose only, there is a tap behind the Trading Hut. Please remember, all water supply is shut over the winter periods until April.
If we don’t turn the water off in the winter, the pipes will freeze, burst, and cost us a lot of money to repair. The water is shut between 1st November and 1st April.
Call the Allotment phone number immediately. Please put these numbers in your phone to save time and money if we need a plumber.
Bonfires are permitted under certain conditions, which are designed to prevent a nuisance being caused to neighbouring plot holders and people in the surrounding area. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 it is an offence to cause a nuisance through the generation of ‘smoke emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance’. Causing such a nuisance breaks Rule 11 of PACA’s Constitution and, thus, can lead to a plotholder losing their tenancy. Therefore, the tenant must conform to the following requirements:
- Bonfires are permitted only after 7pm between 1 May to 31 August, but can be at any time between 1 September to 30 April.
- The plotholder should consult neighbours before starting a bonfire and must stay with the bonfire the whole time it is burning.
- Bonfires must be extinguished if not burnt out by dusk.
- Only burn when suitable weather conditions permit, to avoid causing a nuisance (wind drift etc)
- Only burn organic matter and dry vegetable matter that has been produced on your own plot. Do not burn material that has been given to you from other plots or from outside the allotment site.
- Do not set fire to massive piles of materials, but start with a medium stack and add further material in stages.
- Non-vegetable matter such as plastic, rubber, carpet or roofing felt must not be burnt, and flammable liquids such as old sump oil must not be burnt or used to light fires.
- In the event of a complaint, from another tenant or member of the public, regarding a nuisance being caused by the bonfire, then the fire must be extinguished immediately
Yes, but check with your neighbours that they are OK with the time of your barbecue.
No parking is not allowed on the site without a blue badge. There is a policy of ‘stop & drop’, with a 20 minute maximum time limit. Please park your vehicle in the council car park at the entrance to Pitshanger Park.
Improving your plot (4)
Yes. You can build or erect a shed of no larger than 244 cm width x 183 cm depth and 213 cm height. Greenhouses and Polytunnel are also allowed with the same size restriction.
Structures including sheds, polytunnel and greenhouses must not cover more than 20% of the area of your plot.
Try to site your shed and green house or poly tunnel in a position that is not too visible from outside, to reduce risk of vandalism and be considerate to your neighbours. It should not create shade on your neighbours plot. The best position is 0.75 metres from a shared grass path (south) and 1 metre away from shared drain or roadway (east/west).
If you plan to build your own shed, we now have to insist that all sheds are of ‘commercial’ sheds in size and style. Click on the link below.
Please post your application in a sealed envelope addressed to PACA (shed application) and place in the post box at the Trading Hut. Click on the link below.
Take it home or to the Council’s recycling centre.
You must not dump rubbish anywhere on site, including the boundaries of fields, parking areas and road.
Yes. Gardening tools, fertiliser, compost bags, seedling pots and trays, or any basic essentials you may need.
Piles of apparatus can be hazardous to you, so to avoid accidents, please try not to bring things to your plot which can be a fire hazard, provide shelter for pests such as rats, and will later have to be removed.
Rubbish removal is a considerable expense, especially when new people take on plots and have to remove piles of stuff, so you will be asked to remove it if it is a potential problem.
You can compost most organic material including most weeds – just put them in your compost bins before they set seed and the heat will destroy any problems. Compost is a free resource that will improve your soil texture and fertility, and composting is a sign of a well managed plot.
You can burn pernicious weeds such as bind weed roots, couch grass, dandelion and bramble. Alternatively you can take them to the local dump, where the heat of a very large heap will destroy them
Site Facilities (8)
It usually opens at the weekend in March and closes at the end of October but if Robert is on site he will try to assist you with your requirements at other times.
The shop is run by volunteers, and weekends are the most convenient day for most people.
Please look out for requests for help when deliveries come in, and consider volunteering in the Shop.
Each year the Shop reviews what has sold well and what people have requested. Seed potatoes are particularly good value with advice coming free.
We aim to provide good value for money on a non-profit basis and offer an opportunity to come and talk to a member of the committee while also raising a little money for the association so you can give support by making a few purchases.
Put your requests in the Comments and Suggestions book. The Shop may also send out a questionnaire. We have to buy in bulk, with limited funds, so we may not be able to meet every request, but the Shop work hard to get in what people want.
There is no plan to do this, because of the difficulties with insurance, maintenance and organisation/time in terms of someone needing to be available to be responsible for equipment storage/booking out/checking back in, etc. Such hardware would also attract thieves!
Yes, anyone can use the Shop.
We have a disabled access, composting toilet.
It’s everybody’s job! You must maintain the path between you and your neighbour, so that it is safe to walk on.
Please do what you can to maintain our site – even small actions are helpful, such as carrying a pair of secateurs so that you can cut back any overhanging vegetation as you walk to your plot. Try to take a few extra minutes to strim or mow some of the communal areas, including the roadway vegetation when you do your plot.
If you have any practical skills you may want to get involved with a subgroup to help with maintenance work.
Or you may like to join the subgroup do some dry hedging or planting hedgerow to strengthen our boundaries.
Come to the AGM to discuss options for keeping our site tidy and well maintained, or get in touch with the Chairperson or Secretary.
Ask if it is possible for them to cut down or prune back overhanging trees and plants. If they can’t do it, offer to do it for the benefit of both of you.
If they are not happy with your plans, talk to the Committee.
If your neighbour is not cultivating their plot, ask the Secretary and another member of the Committee to inspect it, and if there are concerns they will contact them.
Please report this to the Secretary. Breaches of boundaries are taken very seriously.
Please be aware that you risk damaging the plumbing system if you dig or fork over the boundary of your plot; you could make your path more attractive to intruders if it does not have clear sight lines, and also risk damaging your relationship with your neighbours.
Tenants and their guests are not allowed to enter a plot without an invitation from the plot holder. You must not take anything from any plot, regardless of whether it appears to be neglected.
Ask them politely to stop. Allotmenting should be a relaxing, peaceful activity. If they don’t stop, please contact the Secretary about the problem.
Use of barbed wire is strictly prohibited. You may use temporary fencing to deter intruders
Giving up my plot (5)
If you are moving out of the area you will be able to keep your plot, if it is well managed, but please consider whether it will be possible for you to keep coming regularly.
Please let the Committee member for Lettings know as soon as possible. Please arrange a time to meet and return your gate key, and to check that your plot is free of rubbish.
You should remove all your belongings within an agreed time. You must return your keys to get your deposit back.
No. This is not possible. We have a waiting list and it is only fair that we treat this matter on a ‘first come first served’ basis. However, if a friend or relative regularly helps you on your plot s/he may become an associate member of PACA and have a right to take on that plot should you give it up.
Generally, what you find on the plot becomes yours and what you leave on the plot is not yours any more. You cannot make arrangements via the Committee to sell anything to a new plot holder who you have not met. You can make your own arrangements to sell your belongings before you leave, if you wish.
You will have gone through a process of discussion about your neglect of your plot, lack of cultivation or possibly infringement of our rules/upsetting your neighbours. If appropriate, you will have been made an offer to move to a more manageable plot, or reduce your plot(s), to give you a chance to succeed. The Committee will also consider all of the positive actions you may have taken, including work to your plot, voluntary work on site, etc, and any health or personal issues. All of this is weighed up before a decision is made at Committee meeting to ask you to give up your plot.
If you feel that the decision was not fair, please write to the Committee Secretary, stating your reasons. You may be asked to attend a Committee meeting to discuss this further.
Please understand that we try to keep the rules reasonable and to have as few as possible but be aware that your tenancy is renewed each year, provided you keep to those rules.