Allotments at Hartley Farm

Allotments at Hartley Farm

The idea for allotments came from our customers. Since we opened in 2008 they have offered a stream of great ideas and suggestions and this was one of them. The original village allotments were in the heart of the village (next to the Churchyard) and were built on in the 1980’s. It was obvious that a new site was needed and would be popular. The idea was in common with our own thoughts on minimal food miles and working together as a community, so we started to plan.

The gardeners are all from the village and were very patient while we researched the project. They understood our needs to have the area looking very smart as it’s effectively our ‘shop window’ and the site is now a credit to them. The soil, in common with most ‘Winsley soil’ , is not the best and it has its fair share of stones. However, our hardworking and innovative group has turned this to their advantage, and have constructed footpaths and borders with the stones, and used manure from the farm to enrich the soil. Not only will the food miles be zero but their carbon footprint will be also! The scene is completed by Tony Griffith’s fantastic stone walling.

I am sure that as the allotments become more established, there will be a lot of fun to be had, to offset all that hard work. We are planning a ‘Market Day’ at the Farm Shop  in the autumn, for all the growers to come and show off their produce and exchange any surplus. Kate, our market gardening expert will be on hand to offer advice, and Tom has some ideas on how to put the produce to good use. No doubt more ideas will be forthcoming to, so hopefully time spent at the allotments will be both work and play!

There were always going to be some challenges, and the driest April on record has not been an ideal start, so the watering cans have had more use than the spades. This recent weather would have been more suitable for a vineyard than a vegetable patch!  Ahhh,…… now there’s another idea!

Richard Bowles