We have been allotment owners now for 7 weeks, one of things we were worried about when we took the allotment on was finding the time to commit. We both work full time jobs and have two young children so weekends can be busy. We do not want the allotment to become a chore, and part of making sure this does not happen is being sensible from day one about what time we can commit and not beating ourselves up about it if things do not always go to plan. We are going to be smart with what we plant, and opt for low maintenance, high yielding crops etc
In the 7 weeks we have had the allotment we did have 1 weeks holiday booked so lost two weekends, but otherwise, mainly visiting at weekends I estimate we have spent around 25 hours on the plot so far, and I think we have achieved a great deal, (with some help). Every time we visit and come away with another space cleared, another bed filled, it is like a little victory. It is a pure unexpected joy to work hard at a thing for hours and then to step away and see the result. I knew I would enjoy the growing, but I never knew I’d enjoy the digging so much.
This is what we have achieved so far;
- First rectangle cleared and raised beds built – originally the whole site was knee high in grass and weeds and no definable border.
- Both pathways either side of the plot cleared and barked – we have an absent neighbor on our left so this path also needed significant clearing.
- More weeding than should ever be required in a lifetime
- Small pond dug out but not finished, possibly to be filled back in and moved.
I do plan to grow from seed next year, but it was just too late in the year by the time we got the plot, and we were in the garden center the other week and they had all this veg down to 50p – £1 a tray and never able to resist a bargain, we took a punt on them. I have no idea if they will actually result in anything edible, but now they are netted we will see, planted so far;
- 1 x Blackcurrant
- 1 x Redcurrant
- 1 x Whitecurrant
- 1 x Gooseberry
- 6 x Italian Beans
- 6 x Runner Beans
- 6 x Kohl Rabi (I know this is a vegetable, but I don’t think I’ve ever eaten one intentionally)
- 6 x Cabbage
- 6 x Sprouts
- 6 x Calabrese
- 1 x Aubergine
- 1 x Yellow Courgette (my favorite garden veg to grow – its so easy)
- 1 x Butternut Squash
I have sown radish and mustard directly to a raised bed to see if I can get a crop from those, and I am contemplating a patch of ‘cut and come again’ salad leaves, having had reasonable success at home in the past.
The biggest luxury by far however, is the ease in which we can plan. Being so used to a small garden that has to work for many purposes, there is a great freedom just in thinking we are using this space to grow food, no one needs to play here, or sit here and it doesn’t even need to look pretty – although i do admit to taking great delight in the beauty of all the different styles of allotment near by and my heart literally sings at ‘next door allotments’ sweet peas. It just seems such a luxury to have all this space, and I think that is what I enjoy about the digging. When we are at the allotment, that is what we are doing, we are digging, we are growing, we are planning – but just for this, just for this one thing, this one space. We are not thinking about whose homework needs to be done, or whose teeth have been cleaned or which school trip is happening next week, we are not worrying about the cleaning, or the washing or the work deadline. We just dig! and we don’t worry about all those other things and the world thankfully keeps turning.