The term allotment basically means a share or an apportion but when used in a horticultural context it may have reference to several categories of land allocation, (Fuel Allotments, Field Allotments etc.,) originally as compensation for the loss of grazing and cultivation rights with the forced enclosures of common land.
In Paddock Wood we have three sites (Kent Close, Ringden and Badsell Road) of ‘Statutory Allotment Gardens’ land acquired specifically for allotment use and protected by several Acts of Parliament. The Kent Close site is the longest established having been worked since the early 1900s.
In total we have 123 plots, 91 x 10 rod and 32 x 5 rod, 10 rod is the equivalent of approximately 250 square metres. The sites are managed on a day to day basis by members of the Allotment Association Committee with the Town Council having overall control.
The land, like most of the Paddock Wood area, is on the heavy side but has high fertility and when well cultivated produces good yields of most crops. Experienced plot-holders are always happy to share their knowledge and advice but should not ‘push’ their opinions – there are as many successful ways of gardening as there are
The official start of the allotment year is in April (when the rent becomes due), however this is not the most appropriate time of year to take on a plot as everything is bursting forth in growth, especially the weeds and most time is spent clearing and preparing the ground with little respite or return for the efforts. An Autumn start
allows time to tackle the challenges of a new plot.
A competition is held annually for the best overall plot and the best Ladies plot (apologies for mild sexism) and the best six plots are entered into the County Allotment Competition. An inter-site competition is held in the summer and in the autumn a giant vegetable class at the Paddock Wood Horticultural Society’s show is sponsored by the Allotments Association.
The Paddock Wood Allotments & Gardens Association was formed in 1971 and in addition to part managing the Allotment Sites and negotiating with the Town Council on allotment matters it runs a mutual trading scheme for members. The main store is at the Ringden Site with a small unit at Kent Close. A fairly wide range of gardening
sundries is available at very reasonable prices. There is also a scheme with Dobies Seeds offering very attractive discounts. The stores are open for members on Sunday mornings from 10 to 11.30 am.
The Association is affiliated to the Kent Allotments & Gardens Council and the National Society of Allotment & Leisure Gardens who publish a quarterly magazine which is available to members.
At the time of writing there are a few vacant plots available – so why not come along and join this healthy outdoor activity- and enjoy the fruits of your labour – you’ll be most welcome.
For further details please contact the Allotment Manager on 01892 833571
Allotment Security Information from Kent Police