It’s National Allotments Week, so hurrah for allotments, allotmenteers and home-grown producers of all kinds! Allotments are the perfect way to add some variety, independence, health and interest to your family life; as well as an invaluable tool for educating kids about how and why to grow your own produce. When I had an allotment (before I promoted myself to 2.5 acres!), it was brilliant and really family friendly, and most weekends there were kids of all ages buzzing about – many of course enjoyed the picking & eating side of it (especially strawberries and raspberries!), but most also enjoyed helping out, frolicking around with the watering cans, digging away, finding wildlife, making friends with the other kids, sowing seeds, planting out transplants… We had an allotment group which was great for socialising and swapping strories of pigeon and slug woe, as well as sampling strange gin mixes. Many of us had a shed (I love seeing allotments with lots of different sizes and colours of sheds, shelters and random contraptions) which we could shelter in if spring lashed us with a hailstorm, and we could natter with other allotmenteers over a flask of tea and biscuit in the dry.
The long waiting lists for some council-run allotments has also meant that enterprising farmers and land-owners are getting involved too, offering up a field for division into community allotments – a swell idea. These kind of plots also usually offer the advantage of not have the restrictions that some council plots do when it comes to selling your surplus. While swapping gluts is a grand idea, sometimes people tend to grow the same kind of produce; so it’s well worth considering selling your extras to a local shop, pub or café. Plus if you really get the growing bug, then you could find that your surpluses turn into a nice little part-time business – plus you’re feeding your local community with fresh local veg too! Growing veg is a perfect part-time business that you can fit into childcare or other part-time work – the weeds don’t care when you take them out, so no matter if you’re running a bit late; plus the outdoor exercise means that you won’t need to visit the gym! If this does appeal, check out Gardening For Profit for some ideas on how to get your veg business started.
To All The Veg Growers
Hurrah for all the gardeners,
Who grow such lovely veg
Yes yes to the allotmenteers
With chard-based edible hedge.
We salute your early mornings,
Endless workings of the soil
To make mouthfuls more flavourful
Your hip-flasks rewarding toil.
Three cheers for muddy peasantry,
Who fill our plates with life
Whose hands make food from nothing,
And keep us all from strife.
May your marrows prosper and vines be full of vigour.