I’m getting lots of questions about allotmenting in this situation. Far too many to reply to everyone individually, sorry. Hopefully this will help answer most of them. NB these are my personal opinions and not official in any way.
How Long Can I Spend on the Allotments?
Cabinet minister Michael Gove was clear that we can go to our allotments. There was no time limit given – spend all day working on there if you wish. BUT keep at least 2 metres apart from other plotholders, don’t share tools or a cuppa and wash your hands with soap and water after touching things like gate padlocks others have touched.
Can I take the Children?
Taking children to the plot is great usually but it all depends on how they behave. If they see their pals and run off to play with them they could infect your family. Younger children particularly don’t understand what is going on and the risks in the same way as adults do. The allotments are not a substitute play area.
Driving & Public Transport
Can I drive to the allotments? The authorities understandably don’t want a lot of traffic on the roads but a short trip to a plot and back is not a concern to them. Do not take public transport though. Bicycles are great – and hopefully safer than usual with the roads being quiet.
Safe for me and others
Is it safe for me to go to my plot when I’ve got an underlying issue and my doctor has said to stay at home? Simply no. There’s always some risk whatever you do but you need to be sensible and keep things in perspective. If in doubt, stay at home.
If you’re showing symptoms of the illness or a family member is, don’t go out to the plot. Honestly, it’s just not fair to others and you’ll be able to sort the plot later.
I had an email where I was asked my opinion of a policeman telling him he couldn’t go onto his plot and the writer felt the officer was exceeding his authority. Perhaps so, but please don’t argue and do as you’re instructed.
Remember that officer is probably tired, maybe working a double shift and under a lot of strain. They really don’t need stroppy gardeners arguing the toss right now.
This is a bit grim but a pal with medical knowledge pointed out that public toilets could be very risky. The virus has been identified in human stools. Whether the virus is infective or has been killed in the stomach acids is unsure at the moment.
When a toilet is flushed droplets of contaminated water are driven into the air to contaminate surfaces and we know the virus can survive on surfaces for some time. Better to go at home if you can.
We know urine is usually sterile and high in nitrogen which is why it’s so good for getting compost heaps going. I believe it is still safe and we know the ultra-violet in sunlight sterilises as well. So, especially with the risks of using a toilet – a bottle or bucket in the shed is the way to go for a whiz.
Some allotments are busy and others are near empty. Make sure you keep your mobile phone on you in case you have an accident. Maybe best to leave the gates unlocked whilst you are on the site if you can just in case you need to call an ambulance.
There’s always one!
Why do you think it’s OK to go to my allotment when you are complaining about people travelling to places like Snowdonia or the Peak District?
Well it’s unlikely you’ll need Mountain Rescue or a helicopter if you get into trouble on your plot for starters. I could go on but then I’m likely to say something I shouldn’t.