Milverton, Somerset

Life on the allotments

My shed (every allotment should have one) was bought for £30 sight unseen from a house clearance, saving £270. Granted, it needed a new floor and the roof had to be replaced and one side was quite rotten. But with help from fellow allotmenteers and a new metal roof, the shed has served for 15 years. Little by little assuming to lean to the east. I was expecting it to survive for a few years, but the killer blow happened when the shed to the west was blown over and rolled onto my shed. As this was a metal shed it did some damage, smashing the west wall. But the end could not be far off.

Facing up to reality, I let it be known what I wanted for my birthday or Christmas. Sure enough I received from my family a newish shed. In quite good condition, it cost nothing, but it was only half the size of the old shed. That’s not too bad. It means a lot of junk had be thrown out. But what was bad was that it could only collect half the amount of rain water off the roof. This was a serious matter, as the allotments have no other source of water. I reused the old metal roof to make a veranda off the new shed, added a gutter and down pipe and doubled my water collection capacity.

Water is life, but climate change means, not only an increase in temperature, but an increase in extremes, for example, heavier storms and longer droughts. This year we had drought from the middle of March to the middle of June. Then not much rain fell in July and the first half of August. Allotmenteers are beginning to think that just collecting off roof sheds will not be enough and are building supplementary water collection systems. Already we have some freestanding roofs, just for water collection as well as arrangement of plastic sheeting on wooden structures ans there are a few more 1000 litre tanks as well as the 200 litre barrels. This is the most noticeable trend up at the allotments.

Peter Hutchinson

Old shed with metal roof