With all the worry about Covid-19, we all need to be careful. There is no reason you cannot go to your allotment during this time and plant, but you do need to take some sensible precautions. Many allotment owners are elderly and in the high risk groups, plus you do not know if any have compromised immune systems or live with someone who does.
So what precautions can you take?
We are all being told to isolate ourselves and keep away from other people, so respect that. Stay on your plot and avoid communal areas.
By all means talk to other people, but keep a good distance from them, i.e. a couple to a few metres. Do not share tools or other items as that has the potential to pass the virus on. Just be social, but stay on your plot and do not approach people.
Most allotments have gates and padlocks that you have to touch to open. Wipe them down with anti-bacterial wipes before and after use and/or wear gloves when touching them to avoid the risk of passing the virus on. The virus can live for a couple of days on steel, so you could inadvertently infect someone else.
Avoid communal areas and touching anything in the communal areas too as you do not know who has touched them before. If you need to use a tap or anything similar, wipe it before and after use.
What If I Have Symptoms?
If you have any symptoms of the Corona virus, then please stay at home and self isolate. If you think you have been exposed to the virus, then please isolate yourself for 14 days.
While the virus may just bring out cold/flu symptoms in you, it could have a much worse affect on someone else on your allotment site. Sure, you don’t want your plants to die, but they can be replanted again next year … a person can’t.
Many allotment sites are offering help to people who are unable to get there. If you are still well and able to get to the allotment, consider feeding other people’s chickens (with permission), watering plants, weeding and helping to keep the allotment clean.
What Can The Committee Do?
Obviously at this time, many people may not be able to get to their plots and to cultivate them to the usual standards.
Therefore, there must be some leniency in the rules on cultivation of plots and eviction notices. The last thing someone needs if they are fighting the Corona virus is to worry about being thrown off their allotment.
Set up a working party of healthy individuals, respecting rules on social distancing, to help keep plots tidy for those that cannot get down there. Use social media and other methods to keep in touch with members and inform them of the relaxation of the rules until this crisis has passed. We do not want people with the virus feeling they have to go to their allotment and potentially infect other people because they are scared of being evicted as they have self-isolated. Encourage all members to communicate and help each other, particularly the older and more vulnerable members who may not be able to get out.
Pay particular attention to site security and warn plot holders not to leave valuables in their sheds. There is worry among many allotment holders that this pandemic could see a rise in allotment thefts, both of produce and equipment.
At the end of the day, this will pass and we all need to pull together and look after each other through it. These are a few little things you can do so that everyone can continue to enjoy their allotments while minimising the risk of spreading the virus.