Bob and Ruth’s story…




Ruth and I have a fairly big garden compared with most of us in the small terraced houses in West Watford. This is due to being in a corner plot. The problem for growing vegetables is that we have very little sun most of the year. We thought getting an allotment was out of the question as there would be many years waiting lists. We were talking to a friend who said we could use part of his allotment for a while. We snapped up the offer. While working, we realised there were a number of unworked plots available. We asked about a number and were told we could apply for one. When we applied the previous tenant said they would work their plot after all. This happened a number of times but finally when we applied for plot 30 we got it. There was a great deal of hard work to be done clearing  weeds and brambles with their roots and digging the whole plot over but we were pleased to be doing it.

We quickly bought a shed for basic tools and bits and pieces. We built a sectioned compost area. At planting time we were keen to get in as many seeds and seedlings as possible and set to work.

Planting included:

2 early potatoes and 1 main crop. Broad beans, Runner beans, French beans.

Courgettes, Squashes, carrots, strawberries, radishes, lettuces, leeks, onions, purple sprouting broccoli, chard, beetroots, artichokes, tomatoes, garlic, fennel. Daffodils, marigolds, hollyhocks, sweet peas.

This was all last growing season so many of the crops failed or were fewer and inferior to what was expected due to weather conditions. We nevertheless enjoyed what we did and the good crops we did get were very tasty. Our grandchildren loved to come and help and grow small patches of their own. The youngest, Daisy, was in awe and wonder when we lifted potatoes and cut courgettes. She liked to help water the crops. We very much want her to be able to continue working with her grandma on the plot.

There were already rumours as to the possible loss of the allotments last June and a number of us got together to form a group to fight this possible closure. We’d already made a number of friends from other plots but now we made many more as we joined ranks in an effort to hold our ground and keep our beloved site.

Although this has been presented as a “Health Campus” with the emphasis on the building of a new hospital, we quickly realised that this is not the case. We are not against a renewal of the hospital. However, the main building is going to be new houses, flats, a hotel, and shops etc.; this in the most densely populated part of Watford. Even the developers have agreed that they don’t need to use the allotments.

We were offered an alternative site which was presented as being 1.2 miles away but which is 2.5 miles away if you’re not a crow. This is impractical as we like to walk to the plot and only use a car when there are heavy items to carry back and forth. The offered plot is also of inferior soil and is often waterlogged.

Watford Borough Council ( WBC ) have made their final commitment to take all the Farm Terrace Allotment site but we are working even harder now to persuade the Secretary of State to refuse deregulation of the site so we can keep our allotments. 

We do this for ourselves but also for our children, grandchildren and all the future generations.



3 thoughts on “Bob and Ruth’s story…

  1. Allotments all over the country are areas of land designated for ordinary people to be able to grow their own food, independent of all others. It surely is a basic human right for people to be able to do this in however small a way, and to be free from the huge multi-nationals and greedy global food industries, plying crops with insecticides for an ever greater profit margin in the production of essential foods for life! How dare the Council pretend that allotments are not wanted any more and therefore the land can be used for their own money making schemes.
    People are desperate for allotments, they want to regain some control of the stuff of life, food,
    and be able to grow their own. We are all now aware that we should be growing good food, cooking food well and eating well and this is what we all want for our families and neighbours!
    I have an allotment in London, densely populated as West Watford and we have a waiting list
    of four years for an allotment! It will be a tragedy if this land is lost to yet more developers!
    Good luck with your campaign!
    Leave the allotments alone!

  2. So much will be lost forever if they build on this precious green space. This land was not inherited from our ancestors it is borrowed from our grandchildren.

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