Welcome

So you got an allotment plot... Now what?

Welcome to Chinnor Allotments. In order to help you settle in, here are some key bits of information you may find useful. If there is anything we have missed, please email web@caga.org.uk so we can add it.

What now?

There are many good articles out there on how to get started with your allotment and one of the most enduring pieces of advice is to not try to do everything at once; It can be a lot of work to get a whole plot into shipshape. It is often a good idea to cover half your plot with something such as ground cover or a tarpaulin for the first year and just concentrate on the other half. Not only will that give you less work to do initially, the cover will also kill most weeds under it so will give you less work next year. It is usually a good idea to borrow our strimmer and strim down anything that grows before you cover it over. You can use carpet to cover the old plot, but be careful - if you leave it on too long, the weeds will grow through it and it will be very hard to remove.
Do note that the rules require you to keep the plot cultivated so you shouldn't keep half the plot covered for multiple years.

Shop

The shop (or Distribution Centre as it is formally known) is open every Sunday from 10am to 12pm. We sell a wide range of seeds as well as compost, netting, ground cover, bamboo canes and more. We buy these things wholesale so can usually get you a better price than the garden centre.

Seed potatoes can be pre-ordered in October around the time of the AGM.

The allotment association also has a range of equipment you can borrow, such as a strimmer, a lawn mower and a rotavator. Please enquire at the shop on Sunday mornings if you need to use any of this equipment.

Parking and gates 

There is parking at both ends of the allotments. During the summer months you can drive your car down the centre path if you need to unload bulky items.

The gates are usually open during the day, but you can get a key to the main gates from the shop for a small deposit. If you are the last to leave at night, please lock the gate behind you.

There is a separate pedestrian gate leading to Van Diemens Close. It requires a separate key as the gate was installed using private funds. Please enquire at the shop if this is relevant to you.

Sheds and greenhouses

The general rule is that no permanent structures over four foot in height are allowed. It is possible to get permission to put up a greenhouse if you apply to the committee; It must be no bigger than 6"x6" and must use poly, not glass. Permission is discretionary so please get the permission before you buy.

Sheds are not allowed. It is a subject that has debated extensively with the plotholders and currently there is no consensus to change the rules.

Kitchen and toilets

The gate key will also give you access to the kitchen and toilets at the back of the shop; walk round to the rear of the building, the opposite side to the shop entrance and unlock the door there to gain entry. There are tea and coffee making facilities as well as a microwave and assorted crockery etc. All we ask is that you tidy up after yourself. 

Rent

Plots are let for one year at a time, from 1 October to 30 September. It is important that you renew your plot hire and pay the rent at the latest by the end of October each year, as you may otherwise lose your plot.

Meetings and social events

The association holds its annual general meeting (AGM) every year in October. You will receive an invite in advance of this and we do encourage you to attend.
In addition to this, there is also a plot-holders' BBQ every summer for both plot holders and their spouses.

Each year we run a Best Kept Allotment competition during June and July. New plot holders have a separate category so get planting win your trophy! Prizes are presented at the annual BBQ. 

Many plot holders also get involve in the annual Chinnor Flower and Produce Show; it's really friendly and low-key so well worth entering something, just for fun.

When you are not down the plot in person, you can always check in with other allotment holders on our Facebook group.

Fence and paths

It is your responsibility to mow the paths around your plot. Plot-holders often share the burden, taking turns to mow the paths around each other's plots so it's always worth asking your neighbours if they are up for that.
It is very important that you keep one meter clear from the exterior fence so it is passable for other plot holders. You also need to keep it reasonably free from weeds in order to avoid damaging fences etc.

Kids and pets

Kids are very welcome on the allotments and you'll often find them being fed all sorts of produce by other allotment holders. Just keep an eye on them and make sure they don't go on other people's plots. 

At this time dogs and other pets are not allowed on the allotment site at all. It has been discussed extensively with the plot holders and there is currently not support for a change of the rules.

Orchard

We have a communal orchard where you are welcome to pick the apples and other fruits - always a favourite with the young ones. In order to find it, first locate plot 30 - the one with the big compost heap on it. Now walk down the path between plot 29 and plot 30 and you will arrive in the orchard.

Compost heap

There is a communal compost heap on plot 30 that you are welcome to put compostable material onto. Please follow any signs on proper usage and please do not put anything on there when it is closed.
You should only put green, compostable material on there and please chop up brassica roots and any other dense materials. If it won't rot on your plot, it won't rot down in the compost heaps.
Please do take all rubbish and non-compostable items to the skip; there are no rubbish facilities at the allotments.

Committee

The CAGA committee meets once a month and we are always looking for new members to join us. If you are interested in helping or have any suggestions, just talk to a committee member. Minutes of all our meetings are posted on the notice board outside the shop and on the website

Bonfires

You are allowed to burn garden debris on your plot. However; Do please consider the people who live around the allotments and make sure you only do this on when there is no wind that can blow the smoke into people's gardens. Similarly, avoid lighting a bonfire when it can reasonably inconvenience those living around the allotments, such as on balmy summer evenings etc. 

Stay Safe

You should be aware that you use your plot and any equipment that the allotment association make available to you at your own risk; the association's insurance policy will not cover you for an accident that happens to you.