An allotment was created from a formerly derelict 16ft x 10ft piece of land by a group of guerilla gardeners, however, they were evicted, along with their garden sheds, when the owners became aware of their actions it was reported by the Scotsman, the long running Scottish Daily paper. Adjacent to the railway line running from Edinburgh’s Morningside district the plot of land in question, was cleared of accumulated rubbish and vegetables were cultivated making use of this unused land. It was only when they came to harvest their crop, tended to over many months, that they found the access to the land was prevented by padlocks on the gates which had been fitted by the owners of the land, Network Rail. Network Rail then gave them 10 days to remove plants and tools, which I would assume were stored in garden sheds on the site.
Network Rail did offer to rent them the land, but the gardeners guerilla’s group refused to pay the rent as it was 10 times what they would expect to pay at a council allotment. They did not say whether they entered into negotiations with Network Rail about a more reasonable rent.
A biologist from Edinburgh University, Professor Richard Carter, who was involved with the gardening group relayed to the Scotsman that they had cleared the 16×10 land which included a great deal of rubbish removal, including dangerous material, and had planted seeds on it and maintained it. The land had been restored to far better use than before. It was obviously a far better looking garden site to look at as well.
Guerilla gardeners essentially garden on other persons land without their permission. This can be anyone who creeps overs their own boundary into next doors or, after seeing land not being used and then decide to use this for their own purposes or for environmental issues. I don’t know whether they have these issues with 16X10 sheds specifically but it might be worth keeping at eye on this.
People can vary from the very keen gardener right through to persons trying to gain financial benefit by claiming the land. Because if the land is abandoned or neglected by the owner in law then these guerilla gardeners can take it over by effectively squatting on the land for a number of years undisturbed. They believe that reclaiming land which they perceive is being neglected or misused is their right and their duty. By using these gardens for growing is a good use of this land.
Many of these guerilla gardeners encroach on to these lands secretively at night where they would sow some seeds to establish a new vegetable plot. They feel this proactive action is right and proper. However, if they feel so strong and are right then why do they do this in secret. If you ARE right you would do this openly.
Quite recently the local government had released the think tank report calling for the government to create more 16ft x 10ft allotments as well as community gardens on over 3,500 hectare on unused ‘brown field’ land by the carrot of tax breaks to the legal land owners.
Do you have any guerilla gardeners in your area? Do you think it is right what they do? Do you think the government should take action to ensure all land is used?
Every day we are hearing of the latest bad news with more people losing their jobs and with food banks being set up across the country. I, for one, never expected ever to hear of that sort of thing in Britain, which on the whole is still a great country to live in. As times are getting harder even people in work are finding it hard to make ends meet so all sorts of ways are being tried to help them get by. What is happening a lot is that many people are looking at 16X10 allotments as a means to help with their food bills and this is something you could try. Besides helping with the food bill this hobby can help to keep you fit and allotment holders tend to be a social lot so will also help you mentally.
Transition Town West Kirby (TTWK) in partnership with the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners (NSLAG) research shows that the number of people applying for a allotment, often complete with a garden shed, and are growing fruit and vegetables have increased by over 20%. The number of people looking to get their own garden or allotment and benefit from being able to grow fruit and vegetables is continuing to rise, figures show.
1st Choice Leisure Buildings, garden shed makers since 1979, suggests this could be you. You will probably find in your garden shed all the tools required for this hobby which pays. The downside is, because of the number of people applying, the waiting time for an allotment has risen to an average of about 3 years which is mad. In some areas the chance of getting an allotment means a wait of 40 years which is ludicrous. I believe that local councils should be allocating more and more land for allotments, even 16 x 10 or 16×9 plots would be better than none, because this has to be good for their constituents and for the general well being of them.
A spokesperson for TTWK, Margaret Campbell, commented that it is a ‘shame’ that many people have to wait so long before they can enjoy an allotment. She confirmed, in her view, that having an allotment, because in terms of exercise, diet and low carbon footprint, ticks all the right boxes.
Even if you can’t get an allotment it’s worth considering using a part of your garden for growing some fruit and vegetables. In front of your garden shed tends to be a good spot as it is normally shelters your garden from wind and creates a warm spot for vegetables and fruit to grow. Tomatoes are an easy crop to cultivate and also are very colourful.
Whatever you do it will help with the family food bill, you will get enjoyment out of it and help to keep your waistline slimmer than it would have been. All in all you know it’s a good idea, just make the effort and you will be able to sit back in your shed with a can of lager in your hand and say ‘I grew them’.