I am lucky to have a reasonable size garden so I’ve practised ‘growing my own’ for a few years. I’ve enjoyed growing small patches of beans, peas, strawberries etc and I’ve even grown the odd cabbage in the flower beds! Last year, I decided to invest in some ‘vegtrugs’, which were brilliant, however they left me wanting to learn more! My allotments allow me to grow food on a much bigger scale (and learn) – freeing up most of my garden for flowers and shrubs. For me learning to grow my own fruit and vegetables is helping my to develop a real understanding of the nature of organic growing and the most important aspects of day to day tasks required to produce good quality, tasty crops.
It was allotment week a few weeks ago (8th – 14th August). I must admit I’ve never heard or noticed allotment week being celebrated in the media before so I’m assuming that owning an allotment is a little ‘cooler’ than it used to be!
It’s also reported in recent polls that gardeners score higher than the average person on ‘life satisfaction’ so, for those unsure whether to take the plunge into ‘allotmenting’, here, are a few reasons why you should ‘go for it!’
Becoming an ‘allotmenteer’ has many benefits. I’ve found an allotment has provided me with the opportunity to meet people who live in my community. During the seven months I have been an allotment dweller I can honestly say that I have developed a ‘comradeship’ with the other allotment dwellers. Most are more than happy to chat, but of course, if you wish to be ‘self-contained’, I’m sure that would be respected too! My allotment site has its own committee, run by a group of ‘elders’, which are happy to supply anything from compost to advice. I’ve had many conversations, stood at the water tap, about successes and failures of this years’ crops!
Although the allotment is enjoyed by all members of my family, it is primarily mine. It’s a place to be on my own (for much-needed head clearing and peace). I love ‘the escape’ for a few hours a week but the family love it too!(see my previous blogs). If I’m with the family at the plot on a weekend ,I really don’t expect to get a huge amount of work done but even the ‘Tiddlers’ are happy to ‘pitch in’ with the weeding or the odd spot of digging (or strawberry munching!)… I refuse to think of my allotment as hard work so I make time for catching up on the family gossip, to enjoy few giggles, stopping often and drinking plenty of tea!
For me, the allotment has allowed me to get a little exercise. I hate the gym!!!! I can’t imagine spending hours on a running machine in some soul-less building! I work indoors so, personally, I love the opportunity to enjoy a few hours of exercise in the fresh air. I walk miles up and down the paths collecting water, tools from the shed or weeding and, of course, digging over the ground racked up quite a few extra fitness points on my exercise tracker!
I’ve also found another, unexpected bonus to growing my own…my husband eats (and enjoys) the fruit and veg offered. (Mr D is generally a reluctant fruit and veg eater!) Of course, the food grown has been tailor-made for my family…I’m growing the food we most like to eat, and I’ve designed my plots accordingly.
Not convinced? Worried about taking on too much, perhaps?! Well you don’t have to take on a full plot! In fact plot sizes vary considerably…start small and enjoy growing your favourite fruit or veg…I promise you that there’s nothing like the taste of the ‘fruits of your labour’!