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The Perfect Plot

Are you on an allotment waiting list? Have you lost hope that you’ll ever have your own plot? Are you thinking of starting a community garden but not sure where to start? Well this could be the book for you. An inspiring story of a group of people from a village in Devon who started an allotment site from scratch, it takes the reader through their journey from finding the site to it becoming a patch of fruit and vegetable abundance.

Most people with an allotment and certainly those on a waiting list have heard that councils have an obligation to provide an allotment site if at least 6 people request one. I had begun to think this was just an urban myth, as I’d never actually come across anyone who had managed to get their council to do this. It is, however an actual piece of legislation from the Small Holdings and Allotments Act (1908). Using this nugget of information a resident from the village of Cornworthy wrote to his local council asking if they could look into providing some land for allotments. Maybe he was lucky there were 2 councillors who loved gardening and were inspired by the idea. What follows is a tale of ups and downs, set backs and inspiration and ultimately a brand new village allotment site.

The book covers how to set up an allotment association, what grants might be available to you and how to go about applying for them. Even if you have a plot on an established site there are ideas in this book that could maybe make your site a more pleasant place to be. I’m particularly envious of their community shed and their composting toilet. I never thought I’d say I was envious of a composting toilet but my own allotment site has neither facility and it is frustrating to need the loo or have nowhere to shelter from downpours.

The Perfect Plot is full of advice and stories from the individual plot holders, describing what to grow and what problems you might encounter. It also takes you through the process of making the plot sustainable with the committee members applying for grants to drill a borehole and install a solar powered pump and construct a straw bale urinal and composting toilet. I had never realised that such grants were available to allotments and after some digging around, if you pardon the pun, it seems there are a lot of opportunities for funding especially if you are starting a community garden.

Within 9 months of the initial letter to the council the allotment site was up and running and 2 years later with the bore hole drilled the site was fully sustainable. It is such an inspirational story of what can be achieved in a short space of time and how much the allotment has contributed to the village and community.

The Perfect Plot is now available from Amazon and all good bookshops.

Thanks to Alice at Simon and Schuster.