Grow Your Own Fruit and Vegetables…

The Association is a voluntary organisation that was formed in 1977, because of concerns that the land might be used for property development. The site was gifted to the City of Manchester by Lord Egerton of Tatton, to be used in perpetuity for the cultivation of fruit and vegetables. It is rumoured that when the railway line was built, the allotments were designated as gardens for the workers, to supplement their meagre wages and improve their diets.

Those days are long gone, and a housing estate has grown up around the allotment site. The main gate is accessed at the junction of Lynmouth Avenue and Minehead Avenue, the back gate from Meltham Avenue (click here for map).

Times were grim in the early nineteen hundreds; Albemarle Allotments were essential to the health of many families, and that still applies today!

A 300 square metre plot, with good planning, can supply a family of four with fresh vegetables all year round, and with some to spare in the summer months.

The site has 110 plots, some sub-divided, and is the third largest of the 40+ sites over the Greater Manchester area. There are approximately 130 plot holders, working the plots together with their families and friends. At a guess, there may 150+ people working the site, and many other families benefit when there is a glut of produce. We have good topsoil which, in most parts of the site, is several spits deep; in addition to soft fruit and tree fruit, we grow the full range of vegetables, from roots and brassicas to leeks, beans and sweet corn.

Apart from the fact that fresh produce tastes so much better than supermarket food, working the land in the fresh air is a lot healthier than a workout in the gym, and you get a tan for free.

An added bonus, to those who are interested, is the plant diversity (‘weeds’, to those who are unaware of the importance of wild plants). You may not want nettles, brambles, dock, dandelion etc., in your manicured gardens, but they are essential to many insects, and the insects are essential to many birds, and so forth up the food chain. The allotment doesn’t just feed us, it feeds a huge range of insects, amphibians, birds and animals.

Pipistrelle bats can be seen in the summer at dusk, by the railway line. Where plotholders have created ponds, you may be able to see frogs and tadpoles and, if you are very lucky, smooth newts. There is a rumour that there may be a great crested newt on the site. The newts and bats are endangered species, so we are obviously doing something right!

And bees, endangered worldwide, are thriving on our site.

A successful allotment requires a lot of time, hard work and sustained commitment, but brings ample rewards in terms of fresh produce and a healthier lifestyle.

If you would like to join us and experience the pleasure of growing your own fruit and vegetables, please email us at allotment.albemarle@gmail.com