Monday 24 March 2008
* The average number of people on a waiting list for an allotment in the UK is 59. Half of local authorities in the country report lists of more than 200 names. About 4,300 people are waiting for an allotment in London alone.
* By tradition, the rent for British allotments is due on St Michaelmas Day, 29 September.
* Allotments in the UK date back to the 18th century. By 1873, there were 244,268 allotments in Britain; by 1918, 1.5 million. The number then declined, falling to 600,000 by the late 1960s. Today, there are an estimated 300,000 allotments, yielding about 215,000 tons of fresh produce every year.
* Famous fictional allotment holders include Arthur from EastEnders, who died among his spuds and caulis. The actor Charles Dance and, less surprisingly, Alan Titchmarsh are allotment gardeners.
* The National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners is the UK's biggest allotment body. The latest issue of its quarterly magazine, Allotment and Leisure Gardener, includes news of the Third Dunblane Potato Day and an ad for "probably the greatest rotavators on earth" (the BCS and the Camon).
* In the UK, the size of allotment plots is measured in "rods". One rod equals 25.29 square metres.
* Allotments thrive on rules. For example, Greenwich council requires that pathways should be 47.27cm wide. Waltham Forest council bans bonfires on its allotments.
* The Luxembourg-based Office International du Coin de Terre et des Jardins Familiaux is Europe's largest body representing allotment gardeners (it claims to have three million members). Tickets for this year's International Allotment Gardeners' Congress in Krakow, Poland, are selling fast.
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
Life & Style blogs
How to carve a pumpkin for Halloween with this step-by-step tutorial
Health: When masturbation can be fatal: The practice of auto-erotic asphyxia is often concealed by a coroner's verdict. Monique Roffey looks at a lethal taboo
Woman successfully sues Google for showing her with 'part of her breast exposed' on Street View
Happy Halloween! Google celebrates All Hallows' Eve with Doodle
The post-porn wave: why some young people are shunning videos of misogynistic sex
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
- 1 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 2 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 3 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 4 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
- 5 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
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