We have had an allotment for a little over a year, but I thought it might be nice to share some of the reasons why, what it looks like and the process which growing fruit and vegetables is involving for us at the moment! There’s a lot of learning going on- not just the practical things of growing but also so many analogies about growth and watering that are sinking into my heart over and over.
We have made lots of interesting mistakes, learnt a lot and spent some lovely time at our allotment – here’s some of why!
We love knowing where our food comes from– we are lacking in local fruit and veg shops etc and it’s so nice to be able to know where and how your food was made. It’s satisfying to go down to the allotment in the summer and pick off a handful of delicious raspberries- not many of them made it home, especially with little hands around!
It’s a great experience for the little ones– learning the value of hard work and putting in effort, as well as just the fun of being outdoors and seeing how food ends up on your plate- these are all great things regardless of your age really. Phoebe is particularly having fun planting the seeds, being so excited to watch them grow, and both Phoebe and Simeon love watering, digging and raking. I know that this summer is going to be fun, hopefully we will have plenty of home grown things to choose from when we go down!
It’s a step towards living more simply – I always imagine that some kind of Little House on the Prairie existence would be lovely- being able to live in a simpler, less wasteful fashion, a la the Good Life! But of course it isn’t as simple as just choosing that. Where possible it’s great not to be throwing away lots of plastic packaging from the shops and to be relying less on things which are shipped and flown and transported around just for our convenience. We still use plenty of these things but small changes add up and it’s good to be mindful of our environment.
However– it’s also hard work! Growing things involves a lot of patience, time and effort- much like anything else we want to cultivate in our lives. Last year we really didn’t anticipate how much effort it would take to get it going and didn’t appreciate the importance of some things like planting seeds at home and then planting them out when they were larger. Frequent, even short visits are better than fewer longer ones. I’m looking forward to popping in on the way to and from school in September since it’s really close.
It’s not necessarily going to save you money initially- we originally didn’t spend much on anything besides a few tools and some seeds (that is really all you need, after all)- but a lack of time invested in it along with the fact it was tricky to get down there without a child trampling over things which had been planted meant the days and weeks between visits added up quickly. We have invested in the ‘infrastructure’ of our allotment a lot this year, and whilst it won’t pay itself back for a while it does mean that we are actually getting down there, with littles and getting everyone easily involved.
Next up I’ll ‘introduce you’ to our little space and show you our progress so far this year- it’s slowly coming together and I’m hopeful that we will reap the benefits, literally, later in the year!