A GROUP of Morpeth allotment holders is calling for everyone with a plot to dig in after taking over the running of the site.
The Middle Greens area, which includes 78 gardens, has been self-managed since April when an agreement was reached with landowner Morpeth Town Council.
Now that it is up and running and has had a few meetings, the Allotments Association is looking to do what it can to make the site better.
Investments will be made in the longer-term, but the immediate challenge is to get plot holders who do not spend much time on their patch at the moment to sort out their unkempt grass and plants.
Chairman Sid Blower said: “It has been a difficult year for allotment holders with so much wet weather, but for those who have put in the effort their plots look good and their plants are coming along nicely.
“Some have had their garden for years and take great pride in its appearance.
“However, there are others who are not spending time on their plots and they are an overgrown mess.
“We’ve sent letters asking them to do something about it because it’s unfair for the rest of us, particularly on the neighbouring gardens that are neat and tidy.
“We have been asked to put more taps in from someone who wants to build a mound, but we haven’t done much else at the moment as we’re keeping a tight hold of the money in case we get any bills or if equipment is stolen and needs replacing.
“Next year might be different and at some point we will be spending funds on things like new fencing and equipment.
“What we can definitely say is that the rents for next year will be the same at the very least and they may be reduced.”
A range of plants are grown on the plots such as carrots, leeks, sweetcorn and turnips along with some flowers. A couple of allotment holders are still keeping pigeons.
More than 40 people are on the waiting list for the site.
Mr Blower said: “The good thing is that we’ve now got a name for every plot and we’ve been able to give support and advice to those who have only recently taken theirs on and haven’t done gardening like this before.
“It will take us a bit of time, but I think it’s for the best that we’ve taken on the management of the site ourselves.
“A problem issue that we want to try to get sorted is the seepage at the top of the bank, which is a mixture of water and sewage.
“It’s damaging some of the land and we’ve got in touch with the water board about it, but we’ve had no response.
“All we want is some advice on how to deal with the situation.”
One of the plot holders, Peter Leathard, is confident that the association will be beneficial for the Middle Greens allotments.
“The committee is concentrating on the site more than the council did and its actions are in the best interests of the garden holders,” he added.
Both Middle Greens and Tommy’s Field allotments received statutory status in March.
This gives them added protection against developers because any change of use of the land now needs to be approved by the relevant Secretary of State.