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Green-fingered boom as Covid drives people to reconnect with outdoors

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AN island allotment has been inundated with demand for plots as interest boomed due to a desire to be outdoors during Covid – and it now has a massive waiting list.

Gordon Hynd, 69, who is the secretary of allotments on Moncreiffe Island, Perth, says there is a 40-strong waiting list for people looking to hire a plot.

He said 20 years ago enthusiasm was so low he “couldn’t give one away”.

Hynd thinks the interest boom may have come from people looking for more outdoor activities due to Covid and says it has become “very fashionable”.

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The allotment, which contains 71 plots, has attracted interest from a wide range of people, including young people, retired people, and families.

Hynd, who is a retired information officer, said: “Twenty years ago you couldn’t give them away, but they’ve become very fashionable now.

“I think people have become interested in where their food comes from.

“I think people also want to be outdoors more due to Covid. It’s good exercise, and there is plenty of fresh air.

“It’s a good arrangement for everyone concerned. There are all sorts of people interested these days.

“Young people, families, and retired people. There is also a lot more female interest, which was very rare years ago. It was definitely a male-dominated field.

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“We have 71 plots at the moment. A full plot is 250 square yards. A full plot would be sufficient to feed a family for a full year.

“Back in the more traditional days, people would grow pretty basic stuff, such as potatoes and leeks.

“Now people grow a wide range of things – peas, beetroot, green beans, you name it, most folk will grow it.

“A full plot for a year is £45. It’s absolutely wonderful seeing people ignite an interest in this sort of thing.”

The allotment is unique in itself, in that it can only be accessed at a low tide – meaning people are encouraged not to drive over.

Hynd added: “We encourage people not to bring cars over, as it’s very difficult.

“Most of the gardening stuff needs to be brought over by hand across a railway bridge.

“We have access to the local golf club’s tractor to bring plants over. That can only happen when the tide is very low.

“Flooding can be an issue. We had a big flood in January 2016, and never thought we would recover, but we did and are doing better than ever.”

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