Tag

Allotments

Garden, Home and Garden

Greenterest – A Gardening Based Social Network

greenterest

greenterest

Are you social media savvy?  Green-fingered?  Or perhaps (like me!) not particularly green-fingered, but enthusiastic to grow your own?

You might be interested to hear that Sidekick Studios have recently created Greenterest (it’s working title) – a prototype social media platform for amateur gardeners.

The idea is to “connect amateur but enthusiastic urban gardeners with others, to learn and share in a specially-designed social network“, says Katie, one part of Sidekick Studios, ” Greenterest is made for people who already Instagram their growing efforts but aren’t sure where to turn to when they get stuck“.

gardening social network

Greenterest has a variety of functions:

  • You can create your own ‘plot’, a virtual space where you can upload snapshots of your garden/allotment; tell people about your space (whether it’s a windowbox of a few herbs, or acres of manicured gardens); tag your plants and connect with others.
  • You can plan your future plot.  If you like someone’s else’s photo, it gets added to your ‘trug’ – a stored collection of inspiration for your own garden, sortable by label.
  • Explore labels of different flowers, vegetables, soil types, growing conditions, etc, to find gardens similar to yours ; share advice and tips; and plan what will work in your plot.

social network for gardeners

This gardening based social network sounds really exciting, and really useful for garden or allotment planning and for some gardening inspiration.  At the moment, as it’s still a prototype, it contains just the bare minimum of functionality – you can join, upload photos and discover others.  However Katie says they have lots of ideas for other features that would make this a must-visit site for amateur gardeners.  The plan is that eventually you’ll be able to follow others and see their updates on your homepage, you can tag and follow certain plants or types of plant (veg, herbs flowers), there will be forums for questions and advice, and possibly even a marketplace to trade seeds and cuttings.

For me, I would love this to be fully developed as with my garden I always start out with such good intentions, but then I often fall at the first or second hurdle.  Last year it was slugs – they ate everything, and I mean everything.  I tried coffee grounds and egg shells then ran out of ideas/will to beat them.  This year, however, we have renewed vigour to get things going to recreate the success we had in 2010, where we grew a bumper crop of giant courgettes and carrots!  I think something like Greenterest would help keep up your enthusiasm – the social aspect of it would certainly encourage you to keep going, and being able to connect and talk to other gardeners and swap hints and tips would be really handy.

Update 02/06/14: sadly I’ve heard that Greenterest was shelved by it’s creators, which is such a shame!

Garden, Home and Garden

Allotment Ideas: Inspiring Allotments

allotment ideas

allotment ideas

For a long time allotment gardening was widely seen as the preserve of older men in flat caps (remember Arthur and his allotment in Eastenders? ), as a place to potter about and sit in their sheds.  However, as food prices continue to grow higher and higher, and more and more modern housing developments are created without any private gardens, more and more people are getting in to allotment gardening.

Allotment gardening is a great and cheap way to have access to your own plot of land for growing fruit and vegetables (approximately £50 a year for a standard sized plot); the allotment community is friendly and sociable and keen to share knowledge and swap seeds; and it’s a relaxing and fairly stress-free hobby (as long as slugs don’t attack!).

Now, it’s true that allotments aren’t exactly renowned for looking particularly pleasing on the eye, but whilst browsing the internet for allotment ideas I came across a few that really grabbed me:

Inspiring Allotment Ideas

The Traditional Allotment

This traditional style allotment, found on Fennel & Fern, looks beautiful and really productive:

beautiful allotment

It seems that with a bit of planning and forethought allotments can look good as well as being practical (although it does help if you have some stellar carpentry skills to create that shed!).

The Modern Allotment

Whilst browsing the internet, it also struck me that developers are cottoning on to the fact that people want access to garden space.  These modern allotments at Saxton in Leeds are a great example of developers incorporating allotments into modern flat developments.  Although the plots are small there is still plenty scope for growing a variety of different vegetables, and I have the say the multi-colour sheds are very aesthetically pleasing.  Who wouldn’t want to be out at their allotment on a gloriously sunny day?

modern allotment

Images from Urban Splash

I know they aren’t the biggest of plots, but it’s given me all sorts of allotment ideas – a brightly coloured shed and some raised beds for starters!

Want Your Own Allotment?

All fired up and wanting your very own allotment?  The best bet is to contact your local council, however the National Allotment Society may also be a useful port of call.

However, I’m not wanting to burst your bubble, but in case you weren’t aware, there is a terrible problem of supply and demand, in that there are often huge waiting lists for allotment spaces.  In some parts of Edinburgh alone there are 9 year waiting lists, and sadly, from what I am aware of, the Council is doing very little to help free up more land for allotments.  In many places up and down the country allotments have even been sold off to developers.

You might be wondering what you can do about this?  There is an online petition that you can sign that calls for the Government to introduce and implement a new allotment strategy to help improve the current provision and increase the number of allotments available to meet demand.  You can sign it here – it’s open until 18th January 2014 and needs at least 20,000 signatures so please spread the word.

I have heard of some areas of the country where there are allotments ready and waiting for occupiers, so it may be that you are one of the lucky few, but in any case, sign the petition for all of us less privileged!