Allotments may seem innocuous and wholesome but, if you think about it, they're quite dangerous places for the lone gardener and for children.
Nowadays I mostly visit alone which doesn't bother me from a safety point of view, although a blog discussion about solo allotment visits did make me think. I'm very clumsy so it does cross my mind occasionally about how I'd fare if I was to have an accident.
But what I'm now wondering about is how safe your allotment is for children? I'm not one of those who think that such places are not really for children. For some it's the only place they'll have to get their hands in soil.
I suppose allotments are not really safe places for kids. Some people might use chemicals on their patch, next door's dog doesn't look too friendly and those troughs to catch the water drips from the tap are quite deep.
Then there's stakes with tops left uncovered at children's eye level, poisonous rhubarb leaves and no doubt lots of other things I haven't thought of.
But that's ok. There are dangers everywhere (particularly walking to and home from school we're discovering, where we've witnessed two parents mount the kerb close to us).
When we're at the allotment my children have a fair degree of freedom. There's a wood behind into which they disappear. And when they're actually with us, we make sure they don't wander onto anyone else's plot. That's as much about manners as it is about keeping them safe.
I started thinking about this after reading the Guardian's gardening Facebook page where editor Jane Perrone had asked for ideas on how she could use a bath she'd inherited on a new allotment (I don't think I can link to it, sorry).
The ideas were interesting and varied but a couple of people said, for health and safety reasons, they wouldn't turn it into a pond. Someone even suggested that she got rid of it.
As a mother who has visited her allotment with crawling babies and inquisitive toddlers I was a bit surprised at this.
No one has a pond on our small site but there are the water troughs in which a child could easily drown. And it's never occured to me they should be removed. My children are my responsibility and I wouldn't expect allotments to be a safe place for them. So we keep a close eye on them and instill a few rules.
What do you think? Should you manage your plot with an eye on the saftey of curious children? Or is it the parents' duty to ensure they are kept safe? Perhaps allotments and children don't mix...