Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Dig for Victory! - the Allotments

Behind our house there are scores of gardens, acres of fruit trees and bushes, thousands of flowers and plants.  Behind our house are the Hamilton Lane Allotments where amature gardeners 'Dig for Victory'  every day.


Allotments are portions of land set aside for amature gardeners to raise fruit, vegetables and flowers.   They reached the height of popularity during the Second World War after the Ministry of Agriculture launched the 'Dig for Victory' program just one month after the war began.



These weren't pleasure gardens, it was necessary to produce as much local food as possible.  All over Britain parks, gardens and playing fields were dug up and put into cultivation.


Everyone knew it was their responsibility to aid in the War effort, even the smallest of children.  In 1940, rationing of food, clothing, furniture and petrol came in to effect. Allotment gardens were producing over a million tons of fruit and vegetables to supplement the meagre amount of food available for purchase. The following are the typical weekly rations for an adult:

Butter: 50g (2oz)Bacon and ham: 100g (4oz) Margarine: 100g (4oz)
Sugar: 225g (8oz). Meat: To the value of 1s.2d (one shilling and sixpence per week. That is about 6p today)Milk: 3 pints (1800ml) occasionally dropping to 2 pints (1200ml).
Cheese: 2oz (50g)Eggs: 1 fresh egg a week.Tea: 50g (2oz).
Jam: 450g (1lb) every two months.Dried eggs 1 packet every four weeks.Sweets: 350g (12oz) every four weeks

Little wonder that allotments are so valuable.   Today there are waiting lists for allotment spaces. I've heard it can take up to 10 years for a plot to become available. 




I love having the allotments behind us.   They can look a bit scruffy sometimes,  there is an occasional inconvenient bonfire every once in a while. But the people who garden here are generous, kind people and are the best sort of neighbours.  It provides a diverse habitat for wildlife and endless entertainment for me and the Dust Bunny.  He considers it to be his personal hunting ground! 

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