Guide to using your allotment

1. Getting started

Tyres are no longer permitted on allotment plots

If you have tyres on your plot please remove them.

You may take them (max 2 at at time) to a Household waste Recycling Centre.

There are a number of things you can think about before starting work on your allotment.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the The National Allotment Society have advice on:

  • how to get started
  • the use of chemicals
  • monthly tasks

3. Water safety

Hosepipe Ban and Water Safety

In order to comply with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 and with reference to water hygiene, some precautionary steps must be complied with.

Hose Pipes

The use of hose pipes is currently banned on all allotment sites to prevent contamination of Bristol Water’s mains supply.

Bristol Water has informed us that sites may not comply with back-flow protection measures in regards to water hygiene.

What we are doing about this

The Allotments Team are working with Bristol Water to inspect all sites and identify any that do not comply with the legal requirements.

Once this has been completed we will update tenants on the next step.

Water Troughs

Water troughs should only be used to collect irrigation water. You should only use a watering can or bucket to water your allotment.

Don't wash hands, tools, footwear, crops in your water trough. 

What you should do

For the time being, we are banning the use of all hose pipes on sites. 

You should empty all the water from your hosepipe, coil it up and store it in a suitable location off the ground, such as a shed or at home.

Hosepipes that have not been drained of water and left in the open, can warm up and encourage the growth of bacteria. Hosepipes left in contact with the soil also encourage the growth of bacteria.

Any hosepipes found on sites, that have not been stored correctly will be disposed of by the Allotment Team

To reduce your risk of exposure to bacteria:

Don’t drink the water or wash your hands in the water from an allotment site.

Don’t spray or aspirate the water.

Don’t allow your children to play with the water.

You should always wash your hands after using water on an allotment site

4. Greenhouses and glass

Remember that many allotment sites are exposed and subject to high winds.

Greenhouses

You must ask permission to have a greenhouse.

Glass

Glass used for cloches and cold frames must not be left lying around the site. It's a hazardous material and you could be liable if someone is injured by glass on or from your plot.

You must remove broken glass from the allotment. It mustn’t be buried on the plot.

Use alternatives such as perspex glazing or polythene cloche tunnels if at all possible.

  • the maximum size is 6ft x 8ft (1.8m x 2.4m)
  • it must be a properly constructed ‘off the shelf’ greenhouse, and not made from old window panes
  • glazing must be properly secured to the frame
  • the structure must be secure and kept in good repair
  • you may be asked to remove it or be charged for its removal if it’s unsafe or in poor repair

5. Bonfires, barbecues and incinerators

Barbecues are allowed. If you invite your friends to your barbecue make sure that they’re quiet and considerate to neighbours and don’t trespass on other plots.

You can only light fires between the start of November and the end of March. Be considerate to neighbours when lighting fires.

If you see someone lighting a fire from April to October, report it to your site representative or call us on 0117 922 3719 . Your details will stay confidential.

6. Manure

Deliveries

We’ll remove manure if it blocks paths or vehicle access.

Take care not to damage facilities or neighbouring plots.

E.coli advice


Due to the risk associated with E.coli O157:

  • you must compost fresh manure for at least 12 months before you put it on your plot
  • dig manure into the ground before planting any crops
  • wash hands if you handle manure
  • wash all crops after picking
  • don't let children handle animal manure

For more information and guidance, see Food Standards Agency: Managing Farm Manures for Food Safety.

Contaminated manure

Manure may be contaminated by Aminopyralid, a weedkiller used by farmers. It affects potatoes, tomatoes, beans, peas, and some flowers, making them stunted and unusable.

It’s important to ask the farmer or stables where you get the manure that the pasture the horses were grazed on (or their hay was cut from) has not been treated with this herbicide.

Find out more from the Royal Horticultural Society website.

7. Pesticides

Pesticides are mostly chemical substances prepared or used to destroy harmful pests. By their very nature pesticides pose a potential hazard to the user, others in the area during and after use, and can have a bad effect on the environment if used incorrectly.

Royal Horticultural Society: Pesticides for home gardeners
Pesticide information from the Health and Safety Directorate.
Organic gardening information from Garden Organic

8. Selling produce

You can sell extra produce from your allotment garden, including jam or chutney.

Find out about:

9. Securing your shed

To help keep your shed secure: 

  • don’t leave expensive items such as machinery in your shed as these tend to be targeted by thieves
  • always use coach bolts to secure hinges and hasps to doors
  • always use closed shackle padlocks as these are more difficult to cut with bolt cutters
  • if you can, plant thorny shrubs such as hawthorn, pyracantha, berberis or brambles around vulnerable boundaries to prevent access to sites