As part of our research into community gardens and allotments, how they were set up and how they run, Morag and Helen visited Riverside Gardens Community Allotments in Ullapool and here’s what they found:

Riverside Gardens Community Allotments (RGCA) is situated beside the seashore near to the former Morefield Hotel in Ullapool.  It was established in 2010.

The allotments are 34 outdoor plots of varying sizes, all raised beds (the ground is very stony), and 20 plots in the poly tunnel.  Most plots both outdoors and indoors are relatively small, and almost all are less than the regulation size.  Outdoor plots are created with large wooden “sleepers” originally from local fish farms (good re-use of resources).  The outdoor plots for disabilities are unused, but there are plans to upgrade to make the space more accessible.  Most raised beds comprise more than one “plot”.  A good variety of vegetables and fruit are grown.  One bed was planted with wildflowers this year by local schoolchildren in conjunction with the Highland Ranger who also is a Member of RGCA, and the Nature Restoration Fund.

There are fruit trees and one occupied bee-hive situated on the slope above the main growing area.

Each outdoor plot costs £25, and £10 for each subsequent plot rented by the same individual.  Each indoor (polytunnel) plot costs £20.  The land is leased from Highland Council.

The large polytunnel is well used, gets very hot in summer and is ventilated by opening the large doors at either end.  It’s due to be “re-skinned” possibly next year.  There are solar panels positioned inside the polytunnel and these can run a water pump.

Members have a large communal shed with shared tools, wheelbarrows, books, a camping stove, ample storage space, and there is an adjacent composting toilet.  Water comes from a natural spring and is stored in an underground tank and fed out to barrels beside plots. 

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