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BBC One documentary – A very dirty war: The fierce rivalry for the nation’s allotments

carrotallotTony and Janet Mason now rent a secret plot to stop acts of sabotage on their crops Photo: BBC/ALAMY.

BBC One documentary – There’s’ something deeply satisfying about pottering around an allotment and growing your own produce. No doubt that’s why plots are currently in such short supply with waiting lists of up to 40 years in some areas of the country.

By: Adrian Lee
Daily Express
January 22, 2013


It is estimated that there are about 350,000 allotments in the UK but another 150,000 are needed to meet soaring demand.

The boom in popularity is being driven by a desire for homegrown fruit and veg, rising prices at the greengrocers and the wholesome image associated with being outdoors and getting your hands dirty.

Yet behind the genteel veneer allotment wars are raging among the nation’s potting sheds. Last year there were 3,500 disputes involving plot holders, covering everything from rampant weeds and drunken behaviour to alleged land-grabbing and sabotage. For many cultivators, who once had to contend with nothing worse than slugs and blight, it seems the good life is turning sour.

A BBC One documentary tonight will reveal that seething envy and petty jealousy are at the heart of an outbreak of dirty tricks. It involves tales of arson, subterfuge, stolen produce and poisoned water butts. In Kent, following a series of breakins, two brave gardeners are seen hunting a suspect in the nearby woods. In Devon there’s an increasingly bitter civil war between neighbouring growers. Prize vegetables are being snatched and sheds ransacked and it looks like an inside job.

In Newcastle two men fight for the prestigious title of champion gardener.

Read the complete article here.

For those in the UK, the show is available online here for a few days.

1 comment

1 Laura { 01.25.13 at 10:11 am }

Oh dear, the gutter press gets it all out of proportion again, and I am surprised at City Farmer for repeating such garbage without any kind of critical thought or awareness of the nature of it’s source.

There’s always been beak ins and thefts and petty arson and such, mostly bored kids. And there is a robust competitive edge between some plotholders, especially those who grow for show. And there are also some out and out nutters among what is a large population of allotment holders.

But what reigns over all of the pettiness and vandalism and what is normally a healthy competitiveness is a spirit of helping one another, sharing, camaraderie, and mutual support. It’s a live and let live culture on the whole, for the vast majority of us allotmenteers.

But I guess that kind of story would not sell newspapers, at least not the gutter press kind.

City Farmer, think before you spread this kind of stuff, and check and verify your sources, please.