Plotholders information

Discounted rates for plots
these are given by Bristol City Council and if you qualify you must apply by the beginning of September every year directly to the council offices using this form . On the form you will find a list of qualifying criteria.

Downloadable information sheets for plotholders:-
Download 2012 metric plot size map
download borders and boundaries guidance
download site safety guidance.pdf
download site map
download plot rents 2013
download approximate plot maps
download plotholder_information
download good practice guide for Sloping Allotments
download Waste Disposal good practice guide
For New and existing plotholders,
we offer 5 quick do’s and don’ts:-
Do – visit your plot frequently
Do – keep a 0.5m path trimmed around the border of your plot
Do – control trees, shrubs and windblown seed from your plot
Doprevent soil erosion
Do – ask the commitee before planting trees or digging ponds
Don’t – Use any hose directly onto the ground
Don’t – Burn bonfires between April and September
Don’t – Bring any carpet on to the site
Don’t – Excavate into the sub soil level or next to paths
Don’t – Bring glass onto the site if you can avoid it

Animals and children
In some areas of the site there are serious health and safety hazards including, steep drops, broken glass, rusty metal panels or spikes, manure, ponds and chemicals in sheds. These can be extremely dangerous for children and animals, if not to adults as well. Please be careful on site and keep minors supervised.
Please take rubbish home with you and keep your plot tidy and safe.
Dogs must be kept on a lead and you should always clear up after them.

Gates and Security
The combination for gates with locks is available to all plotholders – if in doubt please contact the farm office.
Feel free spray the locks with WD40 or similar if sticky.
Please make sure, if you are the last person out, to lock the gates behind you. We don’t want our allotments to become like a prison camp – and we’d like the rest of the community to enjoy this green space as much as we do. We have had cases of theft, vandalism and arson, so please be vigilant. 

Skips and rubbish
Landfill skips are no longer routinely provided by the council, if you have a problem with accumulated rubbish on your plot please speak to your field rep about it and we may be able to help you.

There may be a lot of rubbish on your plot when you take it on. Please try to clear it as much as possible and keep it free of rubbish for health and safety and amenity value. Please think carefully about articles brought onto site as you are then responsible for them. Of particular concern is underlay and other plastics that fragment and of course the bane of several plots broken glass or glass that is breakable. Please be tidy and responsible.

There are problematic and dangerous accumulations of glass on some areas of the site. Please clear away what you might have the misfortune to find, and be particularly vigilant when bringing glass onto plots to clear up immediately and safely if any gets broken.

There are mains fed water taps situated around the site. They are turned on in spring after the last of the frosts and switched off in autumn before the first heavy frosts.
The taps are on water meters so the Allotments Office must pay for however much is used.
The rules state that hosepipes must not be used directly to water allotments. However while we have taps you can still use a hosepipe to fill up water butts.
Please be observant of water usage when using the taps.

Existing paths should be maintained to a minimum of 18 inches and preferably as wide as is practicable. If there is no existing path when you take the plot on please be practical and leave room for a path around the plot.
Main pathways through the allotments are under review for improvements. Please respect them and not let your plot encroach on them. Feel free if woodchip is available to improve any surface in need of attention.

If you wish to plant trees or large shrubs please consult the secretary for advice and permission as large numbers are being planted with much enthusiasm and sometimes little regard for practicality. Any large plant should not obstruct allotment space with regards to shading and root space. If you wish to plant large plants for wildlife please contact the wildlife group and the secretary for advice and permission.
Roots are of particular concern in several areas of the site as there are underground storm drains running through the site. Inappropriate planting could result in the need for heavy machinery and consequent disruption and damage for any area concerned.

Bonfires are acceptable on site if they consist of clean materials. Brambles, weeds and clean wood are ok. Plastics, painted or treated wood, felt and any other obnoxious material is strictly unacceptable. This is due to air pollution in the valley, potential harmful and toxic ashes being left on the plot you are currently tenant of, and of course common courtesy to others.

The allotments office banned carpets in 2007. This is because carpets degrade leaving very awkward messes, and as they do so pesticides, glues, dyes and fire retardants may be washed into the plot. Even modern hessian-backed carpets are mostly synthetic right down from fibres to chemicals. They are not recommended for organic use and are banned on our site.

Notice boards
There are two notice boards on site. Keep an eye out for new information – meetings and social events are publicised here and of course you can revisit the website as often as you like. 

Leaf Bays
There are three leaf bays in the bottom compound where the council put leaves gathered from parks from mid autumn to early winter. They are there for all plot holders to collect free. It is not advisable to put them straight into the soil and should be rotted down first. They are slow to rot but make an excellent soil conditioner when they have.
You may need to be prompt as they can go very fast.
If there is space outside of the leaf season it is acceptable to use the space in the leaf bays to have manure dropped as long as it is not inconvenient for others and is moved promptly. It is wise to put a sign on of who’s it is as others may assume it is free to take. The association for loads delivered to this communal area can take no responsibility.

Many of our plots are quite steeply sloping. If you look carefully at the soil when it is raining you can see the particles of soil falling away and moving downhill. Over the years this has worked rather like a glacier, slowly taking the topsoil from the top of any slope down towards the bottom. When digging and particularly when using an African hoe (as is natural, facing uphill) the soil tends by gravity to move downhill. Now many of the plots have less than one spade’s depth at the top end before the pure subsoil comes to light. (The subsoil looks sticky, pale and yellowish or red.) This is no good for growing vegetables in. At the same time, at the foot of the slope there is a pile of topsoil, which is wasted.
We can do a lot to counter this erosion:

  • Ideally there should be at least a spade depth of topsoil.
  • Subsoil is yellowish or reddish and is a poor growing medium as it contains no organic matter and is nearly pure clay.
  • Mixing subsoil with topsoil should be avoided so be careful not to dig too deep. If the topsoil is thin you will probably find that there is excess at the bottom and ideally would move it back uphill to rejuvenate the plots. This would be particularly beneficial to the site where the downward flow is slowly swallowing main paths, and reduce the hazard of someone slipping or falling.
  • When terracing do not pull the topsoil downwards as this compounds the problem.
  • When viewing the plot for the first times take into account how steep the slope is and how much higher the soil level at the bottom of the plot compared to the path below. This should give an indication of the volume of downward movement there has been. This in turn should give an idea of how little topsoil there is at the top.
  • Have a look at the paths that divide our plots. These generally indicate the original soil level before cultivation.
    There is a wide variation as to degrees of erosion of different plots. If the plot you have taken is particularly affected the points above are well worth remembering.

If you wish to build a pond there are some vital points to bear in mind:

  • Small children can drown even in very shallow water. Please be considerate if situated near a main path as children may wander.
  • Most pond wildlife depends heavily on the ponds edges. When building a pond always leave a shallow edge where marginal plants can grow and wildlife flourish. Don’t just dig a steep sided hole.
  • Baths and similar shaped ponds are potentially lethal to amphibians. Make sure there is an access ramp for them to get out.
  • Use of the more expensive purpose made pond liners is recommended. These usually have a guarantee of 15 years or more. Liners improvised from other sorts of plastic usually go brittle and degrade in sunlight. As ponds improve as they become established it is wiser to get one purpose made.
  • Duckweed can be a real nuisance as it blankets the pond surface, blocking out light. It is very common and may come stuck (as a small floating plant) to shop bought plants as well as the usual borrowing from other ponds of plants. Pick and rinse off before it goes in the pond. Inspect plants and rinse them, as well as skimming off bowls of tadpoles for the floating plant.

Good luck!

Adapted from an original article by Joe LeGris