Monday, 14 June 2021

Henley residents encouraged to grow-your-own

THE Henley Allotments Association is encouraging budding gardeners to take up plots.

It has 17 spare allotments at its two sites, Greencroft in White Hill and Watermans in Reading Road.

The plots traditionally come in a size known as 10 poles, which is the equivalent of 250 square metres, though plots half or a quarter of that size are available for beginners.

Association chairman Andrew Hawkins, 69, said: “We have about 200 allotment holders over the two sites and it’s not just retired old fuddies like me, there’s young families with children as well.

“Allotments have been going since 1850 and the standard size of 10 poles was for a working man to grow enough to feed his family without tiring himself out too much for work.”

Mr Hawkins, a retired teacher, of Berkshire Road, Henley, has held an allotment at Greencroft for 40 years.

He said: “It’s a wonderful site down here. The soil is fertile and it’s a friendly atmosphere with people swapping tips and produce with each other.

“If you take on an allotment you’ve got to be prepared to put in a lot of time every week. I used to stop in on my way home from work and then have a blitz at the weekend.

“It’s like going to the gym but you don’t have to pay for membership. Now is a great time to get an allotment because you can dig it up then start planting straight away.”

Dave McEwen, treasurer of the association, has had his allotment for 22 years.

He said: “We try to be self-sufficient and always have something in season. Ten poles is too big for most people who are starting out so we’ve been cutting them down to five poles or even two-and-a-half, which is helping get more people involved.”

For more information, call Doug Richards (Watermans) on (01491) 573046 or Lewis Every (Greencroft) on (01491) 576147.

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