Celebrate National Allotments Week with our top ten gardening picks

8th to 14th August is National Allotments Week, celebrating the British love of gardening.

Although the idea of allotments goes back to Anglo Saxon times, our current system was founded in the 19th century as a ‘perk’ for labourers to allow them to grow their own food. In 1908, a new law, the Small Holdings and Allotments Act was brought in to force local authorities to provide enough allotments to meet demand. After the First World War, the scheme really took off and alloments were made available to all.

In the scheme’s heyday there were 1.5 million allotments in Britain, but this has dwindled to 250,000, with a waiting list of 100,000 people!

If you’re not lucky enough to have your own allotment, then turning over a portion of your garden to veg growing or even planting up a few pots can be hugely satisfying.

Here are our top ten picks to help your green fingers:

1. Gardening gauntlets, Annabel James

These are some serious gloves! Tackle brambles and nettles in complete security with these hard-wearing gardening gauntlets, rafted in the finest leather and gently lined so they are  comfortable to wear. Available in two sizes: ladies (7 1/2) and men’s (10), and made in England. £29.95 from Annabel James.

2. Personalised thermal mug, The Kitchen Gift Co

Save having to keep going back into the house for a cup of tea with this insulated travel mug. Can can be personalised with any name or role up to 14 characters, with “Gardening Mug” as fixed text. £15.95 including personalisation from The Kitchen Gift Co.

3. Oilcloth pruning bag, Sophie Allport

Printed in Gardening fabric, this pruning/weeding back is handy for when it’s not quite worth getting the wheelbarrow out. It would also be handy slung from a branch when you’re deadheading to save you bending down all the time. It folds into a bag  and opens up into a flat circle (diameter: 75cm). £25, available from Sophie Allport.

4. Garden bag, Gisela Graham

This Kitchen Garden canvas gardening bag comes in two sizes and are perfect for carrying round for all your gardening bits and bobs, particularly if you have to drive to your garden. Large size £39, available from The Contemporary Home.

5. Love the Glove seed green gardening gloves, Berry Red

These high quality and high performance gloves feature ultra-soft feel yet hard-wearing fabric that doesn’t stiffen after drying, a stretch mesh between fingers regulates hand temperature and improves dexterity, a padded palm and a snug fit. £15.95, available from Berry Red.

6. Painted wooden cold frame, Mia Fleur

No space for a greenhouse? This attractive and space saving cold frame will help acclimatise those tender seedlings that are just waiting to catch a few rays of sun and to overwinter tender plants that can’t be left outdoors. With a glass lid that can be left open to let the air in on warmer days and then closed when the temperature drops. £139.95, available from Mia Fleur.

7. Grange raised corner planter, the Internet Gardener

Wooden planter provides ample space and a stylish way to grow your herbs and plants and fits neatly into a corner so it helps maximise space. It’s ideal for anyone with back problems, as the raised height makes it easy to maintain. Store pots and small tools underneath if you’re short of space. £114.95 from the Internet Gardener.

8. Dibber, Sophie Conran

This dibber is an invaluable tool for planting seeds, bulbs and seedlings, even in grass or harder soil.  Simply push the point into the soil to make a hole (wiggle around for a bigger hole), drop your subject in and cover with soil. Waxed FSC Beechwood handle, brass ferrule and stainless steel head. £14.95, available from Annabel James.

9. Charlie Dimmock 8cm peat pots, Poundland

These recycled pots are brilliant value, at 30 for £1. Use them to pot up seedlings, then plant the whole thing, pot and all. Available from Poundland.

10. Watering can, Orla Kiely

This retro-styled galvanised steel watering can is embossed with Orla Kiely’s iconic stem print design, and is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. £40, available from Quince Living.

By Sara Walker

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