Allotment gardening and the importance of other people’s stories.

I remember feeling excited and terrified stood in front of my original allotment garden for the first time.

It’s hard.

When new plot holders sign for the allotment keys, they rarely have the luxury of a clean piece of land.

I told myself that all the allotment bloggers, vloggers and celebrity gardeners I followed had once been in this situation. Everyone starts from this point.

And then I stuck my spade in the ground and it was awful.

I’ve had three allotment gardens in the last ten years. Each first day on a new plot, I faced the same predicament but it’s become easier to deal with. Not physically necessarily, but the benefit of experience meant when I stood in front of my current plot for the first time, I knew what was required. And it didn’t feel so intimidating.

Every allotment is different and we are not machines. We’re human.

Being human means we have quirks. We get excited. We have enthusiasm. We dream about the things we are passionate about or plan to become passionate about. We also compare and contrast and we suffer the consequence of doing so. Especially in the beginning when things are a bit difficult.

It’s the same when individuals take up allotment gardening.

However, there’s a fantastic community of allotment holders and kitchen gardeners online. It’s a wonderful place for new allotment gardeners particularly to gain support and encouragement.

 

“Any level of progress is an achievement. Any crop or flower is a success.”

 

Reference books provide only so much. It is stories that place people at the heart of events.

Our natural curiosity of the lives of others is a useful disposition as it provides knowledge and understanding. It can make us self-aware but more importantly, it enables us to relate and in turn become inspired.

I’m two years into the development of my allotment and I’m certainly not immune to those human quirks and it is through the stories of other allotment gardeners I’ve been boosted when my motivation slips and I need a jog as to why I love growing my own fruit and vegetables.

The two years on the allotment has had its highs and lows. I often wonder if I should be further down the line with the cultivation of the entire plot. However, I write what I believe and when I wrote this blog post last year, I meant it.

Life does not run in a straight line.

Early on, the allotment faced severe flooding and resolving it has been hard and slow work. It hosts a barrage of Mares tail every year which to many allotment holders is their worse nightmare (I’m here to tell you it shouldn’t be!) and during this time I also lost my Mam suddenly, sending me into months feeling lost and significantly uninspired to do anything on the plot apart from sit and reflect.

Last weekend, Ava and I spent a wonderful afternoon on the allotment. As the sun set and I packed away my tools, I looked over the plot and realised how far it has come since that first day. Doing this is important whether it’s day two or day five hundred. Remind yourself of that.

I’m going to share more of the development of my allotment garden with you. I want you to see where I am, what I’m doing and where I hope to be in the future.

Recently I’ve been doing this through my Instagram stories and I’ve surprised myself how much I enjoy it. I hope you do too.

Having a vision of what the allotment garden will be is significantly important. I’ve had one the first time the spade slipped into the overgrown soil. It enables me to keep focused on what I’m doing and to continually work towards that goal.

Next week I’ll share more of the development of the allotment through the blog and I’ll keep posting Instagram stories for you to see #myrealview more often. I have a few other ideas to ensure I involve you more in my own allotment gardening too.

I’d love to hear more about your grow your own story. I’m also keen to hear what you would like more of through my blog and social media channels. Leave me a comment below or join in the conversation on my Facebook page.

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8 thoughts on “Allotment gardening and the importance of other people’s stories.

  1. Generally the allotment community, online and in real life, are a really helpful and encouraging bunch of people, I’ve had my plot for nearly 2 years but the only true thing I can tell you about it, is that I never feel that I know what I’m doing and I can always think of another thing that I need to sort!

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  2. I love reading about allotment gardening, although I know I would never be content with it. Seeing the neighbor’s trash and collections of “stuff” would drive me crazy!

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  3. My first allotment was a meadow and I spent 6 months clearing it. It’s taken another 2 years for me to be happy enough with the layout to think about putting in raised beds. The weeds get less and less each year. I still buy far too many seeds and spend most of the time running to keep on top of everything.

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  4. Yes, Mares tail, bramble, bamboo (spreading kind) and giant hogweed – my plots got them all too! Make sure you dig out the roots i tell myself, and then it wont be able to come back. Two feet down and i still havent reached the bottom of the roots! But I have got rid of them. Sort of. On most of the plot. I still havent cultivated all of mine yet either, but my growing area gets a little bigger every year and once there are veggies in it, the weeds are easier to remove because the soil improves gradually, and you tend to weed them when theyre little, instead of the giant specimens that were there when i took it on. But you’re right, though it can be hard work, its also rewarding, and the other plotholders are going through, or have been through, the same experience, so its a shared achievement once things are growing successfully. Perseverance pays off! Looking forward to reading your plans!

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  5. I have never grown in a allotment, but when I got my planter box downtown, I was . . . . somewhat intimidated by the thought of growing flowers that were just pretty. I do not like pretty flowers if I can not eat them, but I really wanted a planter box downtown. I can not explain why, I just wanted to do it. Perhaps it makes me feel like I live closer to town, as if I have a front garden that fronts a sidewalk, where I get to show off to my neighbors. I did not think of how much work showing off would be until I got the planter box. It has been fun though, showing off in a very conservative way. I have spent almost nothing, but grown things from seeds that I find, or cuttings that are scraps from somewhere else. Comparing mine to other planter boxes is funny, because they have such expensive plants that do not look nearly as good as mine.

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