Information for Plotholders

A Nice Place to Be

We all come up to the allotments to enjoy ourselves and relax (when the weeds will let us!) Please treat your neighbours the way you would wish to be treated. Keep your dogs on leads and don’t allow your children to wander onto anyone else’s plots uninvited. Consider your neighbours when siting anything which is likely to cast shade. If you do have a concern about the actions of your neighbours, chat to them about it first. It is highly likely they didn’t think of the impact of their actions and will be happy to change.

Garden Shop

The shop is by the bottom gate opposite the riding stables. It is open on Wednesdays between 10 and 11 and Sunday mornings (10.00 – 12.00). The shop sells (in season) seed potatoes, onion sets, seeds, garden tools, fertilisers, sprays and dusts, canes and compost.

Paths

Please ensure the paths on either side of your plot are free from obstruction so that people can walk between plots easily. The paths need to be wide enough to push a wheelbarrow (18” or 45 cm). The Committee has begun a programme of staking out plots to indicate where those paths are. Over time, some of the paths have been obstructed or even disappeared. While it will take a while for all the paths to be brought back into use, we are keen that the situation doesn’t get any worse.

Marking Your Plot

Apart from some noteworthy exceptions, most of the plots aren’t marked. This makes it very difficult to find our way around the site, and also leads to letters from the Council often being sent to the wrong tenant! Please help us by numbering your plot. Anything will do – a post, upturned wheelbarrow, large stone – as long as it is clearly seen from the road. Where a plot is split, one number is fine between two plotholders. Plot A is always by the road, and plot B furthest away.

Parking

There is limited carparking on the allotment site. If you do need to drive, please only park by your allotment to drop things off, then park considerately in the designated areas (by the shop, by plot 82, by the Community Garden and by the top gate nr Western Avenue). There is plenty of free carparking in Pontcanna Fields and Llandaff Fields which is only a five minute walk.

Manure & Woodchip

For the time being we are still receiving manure from the Riding Stables. Manure and woodchip is available for use by all paid up members of the Association. Please be considerate when using these resources and leave plenty for your neighbours to share.

Bonfires

Bonfires are banned on all allotments in Cardiff. The Council has the power to issue an immediate Notice to Quit if there is evidence of a fire so please take this seriously.

Rubbish

Please take all rubbish off site with you. This includes any weeds you don’t wish to compost on your own plot. It is often tempting to offload onto a nearby plot that looks abandoned or a marginal area, particularly if that area already has rubbish or a weed pile on it. Bear in mind that this is then cleared by volunteers, and often with the use of Association funds which could be used for better things. If you have a particularly challenging plot, get in touch with the Secretary who will be happy to advise.

Carpets

Please don’t use carpets to mulch your plots. Use black polythene if you are planning to cover for up to a year, or invest in proper weed membrane that won’t break down and contaminate the soil.

Sheds & Other Structures

All structures including sheds, polytunnels, fruit cages etc., require written permission from the Council before they are erected. Please ask the Secretary for the appropriate form.

The Committee would like to bring the brick sheds back into use across the allotment site. If you would like to help, particularly if you have building experience/skills, please let us know.

Fences

No fencing is allowed on Cardiff allotment sites. The only exception is rabbit proof fencing. This is acceptable if it is less than 1m in height. It must not be hazardous to other users and must be within the boundaries of your plot. Pathways must not be obstructed.

Asbestos

Some of the brick cubicles still have asbestos roofs. The Council is able to remove safely the material that is breaking up, and the asbestos which is still in situ and unbroken is safe for the time being. If you have any of this material on, or near your plot, please let the Secretary know and we will notify the Council.

Theft

The allotment site has been targeted by thieves on a number of occasions. In particular people looking for metal items that have a scrap value, or other things they can sell. We are hoping that the increase in tenants on site and the presence of CCTV cameras will help to deter them, however plotholders can help themselves in the following ways:

  • Use a plastic wheelbarrow
  • Think about not locking your shed so that no damage is caused by thieves
  • Don’t leave any items you are not prepared to lose
  • Don’t leave any metal lying around on your plot. People have lost the metal from greenhouses before they had a chance to build it on site.
  • Be vigilant. If someone is wandering around who you don’t recognize – ask who they are.
  • Make sure you lock the gate behind you.

Please don’t take things from ‘abandoned’ plots. The site is fully tenanted at present. If you think a plot is empty, and want to take something from the plot – please ask the Site Secretary.

Plotholder Skills

We would like to build up a database of skills we already have among plotholders. We can use a wide range of skills, from building, welding, plumbing, roofing, computing etc., etc. If you would be willing to help out, please contact the Committee, telling us what you can do, and the sort of time you would be willing to commit.

Common Areas (Including Pond)

By the Community Garden (plot 152) there is a fenced off pond area. This is currently maintained by the Community Garden (for which many thanks) but is open to all plotholders to enjoy every day of the week. The Community Garden is open on Wednesdays & Fridays and plotholders are welcome to go along for a cup of tea, biscuits and advice. As with the rest of the site, the plotholder is responsible for their own safety and that of their children. Dogs must stay on a lead.

Toilet

There is a shed by plot 90 maintained by the Community Garden that contains a compost toilet. Plotholders are welcome to use it at any time.

Trees/Shade

There are many beautiful trees surrounding the site, and a little bit of shade can be a very good thing. However neglected trees can cast too much shade, and dead/dying trees can be dangerous. Please notify the Committee if you are concerned about any issues relating to the trees and, where appropriate, we will notify the Council.

You can plant fruit and/or nut trees on your plot provided they don’t exceed 14ft or 4m in height. Only plant half standard or dwarf rooting stocks as keeping a more vigorous tree reduced in height will be harmful for the tree. No conifer, broadleaved or willow trees are allowed on plots.

Japanese Knotweed

Plots 75 and 76, and the hedgerow on the other side of the road, have Japanese Knotweed. This is highly invasive and is not to be touched, dug up or removed. The Council is aware of the matter and will be dealing with it. If you think you may have it on or near your plot, do not touch it. Please contact a Committee member straight away.

Biodiversity / Wildlife

The allotment site is a haven for biodiversity and wildlife. The Committee is keen to manage the hedgerow and other marginal areas to maximize its potential in this area. When thinking about your plot, consider managing a small patch to add to this biodiversity. Leave some sticks to rot, put in a small pond or plant some wildflowers for the bees.

Don’t, however, allow weeds to grow instead. Some, particularly creeping buttercup, couch grass, bindweed etc, spread like wildfire and (as well as being a breach of tenancy) your neighbours won’t be happy if these spread onto their plot.

Clean or Quit Notices / Tenancy Terminations

Regular plot inspections are undertaken by the Site Secretary and other Committee Members; those in breach of their tenancies can be issued with Notices to Quit. The Site Secretary, or nominated Committee member, issues the clean or quit, a copy with photographic evidence is also sent to the Council for their records. If at the end of the notice period, stated on the C or Q, the plot has not been cultivated to the statesd requirement, the Council will be informed, with further photographic evidence. The Council will then issue a termination order to the plot holder.

These letters aren’t fun to receive and we can help to avoid them being sent out if you keep the Committee informed. Let us know if you are unwell, or going away for an extended period (see Help Available below). If you plan to give up your plot, again, tell us. The Council machinery turns slowly, and if you don’t let us know, the weeds will grow, your hard work will be undone and people on the waiting list will have longer to wait until they get a chance to get growing.

Help Available

No-one wants to see allotment plots get overgrown. As well as being a waste of the plotholders hard work keeping the plot managed, it creates work for neighbouring plotholders who have to battle the invasive weeds. If you are struggling, don’t suffer in silence, it is in no-one’s interests for you to fail, or to only be galvanized into action when the Council send a letter. Contact the Committee representative for your plot, or the Secretary directly to discuss options.

Reducing / Increasing your Growing Space

Do you use your whole plot? If not, we would be happy to talk to you about splitting your plot in half. As well as allowing you to manage more effectively the space you have, it allows another person from the waiting list to get on site and start growing. If you only have half a plot, and you feel you are outgrowing the space you have (or that you will do in the next year or so) then you are free to put your name back on the waiting list. When your name gets to the top, we will try our best to get you another half a plot as close as possible to your existing space.