Ringsend community allotments: Growing your own

Photo courtesy of wikimedia commons.

By Geneva Pattison

As you walk through Ringsend Park towards the back you’ll find the Ringsend allotments, run by DCC. There are a total of 34 plots currently in use. At the moment, there is a three-year waiting list for them and they cost €70 a year to rent. Each plot in Ringsend is different and can be personalised to suit your desired gardening needs. So, what are the benefits of an allotment?

Allotments can provide a wonderful opportunity to grow one’s own vegetables, fruit and herbs. Along with what is essentially free food, you’ll know where your food is directly sourced, from growing patch to plate.

In the Dublin City Guide to Community Gardening, Robert Moss of the Environmental Focus Group, Dublin City Community Forum states “a good community garden project generally has the characteristics of being made by, and for, members of the local community”. This perfectly encapsulates the primary focus of inner city and suburban gardening. Bringing people closer together on a local scale, who may feel alienated due to busy lives and busy schedules.

An oral history of agriculture can be passed down from old to young, sharing skills and knowledge in relation to horticulture, seed saving, plant identification and soil quality. Similarly, regarding the weekly shop, you’ll also be cutting down on your plastic usage overall, which can ultimately result in lower household bin costs. With reasons like these, It’s easy to see why local allotments are so popular.

A long history and bright future

Allotments have been a part of life in Dublin for over 100 years. The movement itself was established by Sarah Cecilia Harrison, who was also the first female to be elected as a councillor to Dublin Corporation in 1912.

The initiative started to capture the hearts and minds of the people of Dublin when they began to experience post-war food shortages. This prompted them to take action, utilising every piece of viable land upon which they could cultivate their own sources of food. It was a huge success and a vital necessity back then.

Today, allotments continue to be a source of food, fun and exercise that is inclusive to all. If you’re interested in establishing a community garden of your own, a good way to start would be to get in touch with the Dublin City Growers. The DCG are a group of like-minded people who meet regularly to discuss allotment projects and organise events to support the community gardening movement.

Has this sparked your interest? Here are some vegetable growing tips for the season, that won’t require the greenest of thumbs.

Tips and Tricks


If you have any spare potatoes lying around during February, try chitting them as a means of seeding. You can do this by leaving them in a brightly-lit spot indoors and soon they will sprout purple or green shoots, depending on the variety.

Once shoots have developed, place the potato in an egg carton or something similar if it’s a bigger potato. Soon the shoots will develop more and they will be ready for planting in the soil. By seeding this way, you will have an earlier potato crop and will most likely avoid any blight. 

Rocket Lettuce

Seeds for rocket can be sown indoors from late January to early February. This will protect them from the damp and cold and ensure a better early lettuce crop. Be sure to put them in the ground around March and try to keep the ground moist to avoid the crop going to seed. Rocket is a great example of a lettuce variety that keeps giving. Once the plant is a bit more established, you can start harvesting some leaves and more will grow in its place. One thing to be wary of is pest control while the plant is young, if it’s put in the ground too early it will be susceptible to being eaten by insects.


Onions can be grown from seed from January to March but, to ensure a more successful crop, you might like to grow onions from ‘sets’. Sets are small partially grown onions, ready for transplanting into the ground. Typically, the sets will do better if you plant when temperatures don’t dip below 6°C and when the soil is uncompacted.

To contact the Dublin City Growers, visit their website at dublincommunitygrowers.ie

You can also find information on the DCC website about locations of other allotments, http://www.dublincity.ie/main-menu-your-council-your-area-south-central-area/allotments-and-community-gardens