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Allotments: How accessible are they for you?

Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
edited August 2020 in Coffee lounge
This week, 10th- 16th August, is National Allotment week!

Our theme for 2020 is Growing Food for Health and Well-being, a reflection of the many benefits of growing, cooking and eating your own fruit and vegetables. Here is what our President Phil Gomersall has to say,

"This year every week has been National Allotments Week, with more people than ever realising that growing your own food is a great way of eating healthily, getting some outdoor exercise in the fresh air and acquiring new skills. Plot-holders have also benefited from the contact with nature and the easy camaraderie on allotment sites, helping to retain their mental health and stay positive during these worrying times.”

Gardening tools put out on the grass

However, this got me thinking about the accessibility of an allotment. Surely disabled people also deserve to eat healthily, get some outdoor exercise in the fresh air and acquire a new skills? I appreciate that this isn't possible for everyone, but here is some information about the Gardening for the Disabled Trust.

How we can help

The Trust exists to help people continue to experience the joy of gardening, despite disability. 

We do this by awarding small financial grants to help applicants to continue to garden actively – or, as our founder put it back in 1968 ‘ to get the soil under the fingernails’.    

Our most common request is for raised beds and planting tables: we often pay for accessibility ramps, handrails for outside steps, adapted tools, polytunnels and much more. 

Sometimes we simply pay for the seeds or bulbs to get the garden going again.  We are all about actively gardening.

Who we help and what we pay for

We help individuals, and we love to help groups, because that makes our money go further. People with all kinds of physical or mental abilities, in all parts of the UK, have been awarded grants from the Trust.

We rarely (almost never!) pay for decking, and we never pay for clearing, cutting down trees, general maintenance, provision of a gardener or fencing. 

You can check out our  Newsletter and Clients’ stories here for more inspiring ideas, or if you’re ready to apply head straight to our straightforward application process.

Gardening with a disability (RHS Gardening) has some great tips, as well as the Gardening for the Disabled Trust also offer practical help and advice. 

Are you a gardener? Do you have an allotment? Do you have any tips and tricks for making it accessible? Let us know in the comments below!


  • dkb123dkb123 Member Posts: 121 Pioneering
    edited August 2020
    I came across a project that used old scaffolding to erect a very cheap and effective greenhouse and it was shrink-wrapped in clear plastic, and the raised beds were scaffolding troughs, maybe the Trust would fund the template design so people can easily ask contractors to install them the costs were about 1.5k for greenhouse carport and 6 x2m beds which may be affordable for most people 
  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 3,705 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2020
    Raised beds are ideal for wheelchair gardeners. My neighbour found two long and two short pine kitchen doors going cheap and used those as the sides of the raised bed. Then she lined it with the black material you can buy to inhibit weeds. Then she used old twigs to bulk up the bottom before using a compost and topsoil mix on top. Very successful too, lots of carrots and lettuce growing. 

    Speaking of carrots, old disused chimney pots are excellent vessels for growing carrots in, they grow long too and of course higher than ground level. If you use a very tall one you can always partially fill the bottom with an upturned plastic or clay pot to save on compost and soil. You can pick one up at a local builders yard perhaps or definitely at a reclaim centre. 🥕 🥕 😊
  • dkb123dkb123 Member Posts: 121 Pioneering

    Hügelkultur is an amazing method for saving costs on compost in raised beds 

  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 3,705 Disability Gamechanger
    @dkb123 so without knowing it my neighbour used the hugelkultur technique! I’ll tell her. 🙂
  • dkb123dkb123 Member Posts: 121 Pioneering
    I  have a worm bin the Council gave me for £5  I think most councils have a scheme for compost and worm bins  for the household food waste, which also helps in enriching the soil 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you for all of your thoughts. :)

  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 430 Pioneering
    Thank you very much for providing this information as a keen gardener it has given me some ideas😁

    I know I have mentioned this before on other threads however, I came across some wonderful gardening channels on YouTube including allotment channels. There are also some great Permaculture channels which have lots of ideas about sustainable gardening and making full use of the plants which you may already have. There are some really great tips to make gardening a little bit easier and to make full use of available space. There was a great idea about growing hard wood cuttings in a Babuska Pot which is basically three pots into one for you to grow cuttings to save space. I have already done two of these pots so I will see how the cuttings take. I find gardening very relaxing and it’s great when I have managed to grow something from seeds I have collected or from taking cuttings as I have achieved something and made full use of the plants I already have. I have got lots of ideas from the allotment and Permaculture channels especially about what to grow, when and where.🌼💐🌺

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