Janice and John's Allotment Blog

Introduction - May 2019


Janice is already retired and John is due to retire in July 2019. Discussing the situation they decided that they would like to take on an allotment to help fill the extra time that they would have when John stops work.


They heard about the Alers Road allotment site by accessing Bexley Council’s Website and were attracted by the fact that our site was managed under Delegated Management and that sounded like it was more of a Community. They then accessed our Association’s Website, and were impressed by its layout and content, and then used the contact page to enquire about availability.


They were invited to visit the site and have a look round, where the Secretary explained how we work under ‘Delegated Management’, explained the facilities that are available to plotholders and showed them the two plots that were available.


Neither available plot was in anything like a ‘Good’ condition, but this didn’t put them off as they were prepared for an exciting challenge. Following some weighing up of the pros and cons, they decided to take on what was in fact the more challenging of the two. The final deciding factor was that the chosen plot had a wildlife pond – sadly very neglected – but with great potential.


The journal below, illustrated with numerous photographs, charts the way they are going about the various tasks to take what would be considered by some a ‘Lost Cause’ into a vibrant and productive allotment plot.

John Hollands

The start of our allotment ‘journey’ on Plot 20B


We had talked about having an allotment from time to time but our lives were too busy to even entertain the thought of having a time-consuming hobby such as allotment gardening.  Now we are in early (Janice) or impending (John) retirement, we took the opportunity presented to us in the Bexley Council bill-board adverts, to find out about available allotments.


A little bit of Internet research later, highlighted the advantages and attractions of Alers Road Leisure Gardens Association (ARLGA) allotments to us. 


Firstly the website was straightforward and user-friendly and it was very easy to see what Alers could offer to us.  It encouraged me (Janice) to get in touch to see if we could visit to see what it was like.  John Hollands, the Association Secretary, answered me ‘by return’ and his communication with us has been excellent - which is another attractive aspect of Alers.  He is also really welcoming and friendly, whilst being efficient and ‘business-like’ and together these qualities give us confidence on a social and service level.


We liked the community-volunteer management set up of it, making it feel more personal and ‘community’ based than a regular council site.  The advantages of Alers that we found out about, included a toilet, a water supply, machinery available to use, a shop on site, willingness to help and to provide advice to newcomers (essential for us!), an annual show, coach trip to RHS Wisley and the North Wing BBQ (not sure if we are in the North Wing or not, time will tell).

Janice and John W W

Click on the images below to see progress

Day 1 - 24th May 2019 - Our Plot on day 1........So it begins!

A few shots of our new plot as we start our journey to transform it into a productive site.

Day 1 Image 4.jpeg

May Bank Holiday - 27th May 2019 - A day of wildlife discovery alongside the digging

Plot 20B and the work continued on May Bank Holiday Monday, but with a couple of helpers this time: our son Simon and his wife Bethany.  


27th June 2019 - Shed-gate at Alers

Our shed’s journey from May’s wreck to June’s desirable ‘real-estate’


17 July 2019 - Crops Blog

And so to growing........


11 August 2019 - Crops Update

The fruits or our, and our neighbours, labours


12 August 2019 - Pond and nature, Plot 20B

Calm waters......


Autumn 2019 - Plot 20B transformation

From wilderness to wonderful in 6 months