National Allotments Week
This week it’s National Allotments Week and the theme for 2023 is recognising the importance of gardening with nature in mind.
Allotments can help support pollinators as well as providing a haven for wildlife in urban areas. Here are some tips from the National Allotment Society for a wildlife friendly plot (these work for gardens too):
- Reduce or eliminate use of chemicals, use companion planting and physical removal to combat pests such as aphids, slugs and sawfly
- Create habitats for wildlife; bee-boxes, hedgehog homes, log and stone piles for invertebrates, toads and slow worms who will also inhabit a compost heap
- Plant late, mid-season and early blooming nectar rich flowers to attract pollinators and beneficial insects all year round
- Make a pond, keep it ice free in winter by floating a ball on the top and ensure that it is safe for other plot-holders’ children
- Feed birds through the winter and supply nesting boxes
Allotment sites can also be wildlife friendly by managing hedges appropriately and setting aside un-mown grassy areas to nurture insects and amphibians; a patch of nettles will provide both plant food and a breeding area for butterflies. Orchard areas managed in a traditional way provide potential breeding sites for many different species of wildlife
Working on an allotment also has additional benefits to your physical and mental health too.
The Council owns 17 allotment sites in Darlington, with more than 800 individual plots. Most are self-managed and there is also the possibility of buddying-up to share the load.
Have a look at the allotments page on the Council’s website for information on how to register and how to become a buddy.
The Royal Horticultural Society has tips and techniques for getting the best out of your allotment. And your fellow allotment holders will be pleased to share their expertise.