For Christmas last year, one of the best presents I received was an allotment from my boyfriend. Located just a few minutes drive, and a few more minutes walk from our house, I’m very excited to start growing my own fruit and veg, and spending more time outside with all my favourite people.
It’s a brand new plot, so there’s no overgrown mess to deal with, and I can’t wait to turn it into my own little haven; I feel I’ll be spending an awful lot of time this coming year. This weekend was the first that I’ve spent at the allotment, getting the plot ready for the spring and working out what I’m actually doing, and I’ll be honest, I already feel obsessed with it. I’ve taken lots of pictures, created an Instagram account to track the progress, a Pinterest board for inspo, spent hours reading my new allotment books, drawing up plans and writing lists of the things I’d like to grow. As it’s winter, there’s actually not a lot that I can start growing, but there is plenty of prep work to be done in the meantime. I am also planning to sow some seeds indoors next weekend, in the hope that they’ll be ready to plant out in a few months time.
So far, with a lot of help from my boyfriend, his parents, my mum and a small set of hands too, we managed to put up ¾ of a fence and lay weed control fabric over all 90m2 of the plot. I feel like it’s come a long way in just a few days, but am also aware that there is A LOT more to do before it’s ready. You might think it looks a bit bland and messy now, but just you wait!
This isn’t typically the type of thing I’d usually blog about, but with the thought of setting up a whole different site to document my new venture seeming like far to much work (especially when I’d like to spend most of my time outside…) I’ve decided to add a new little section here in the hope that it’ll inspire someone to try growing something themselves.
I thought I’d share a few things that I’ve learnt in the first couple of days because, well, I feel enlightened…
The allotment community on Instagram is amazing.
Within hours of setting up my new account (@diaryofaladygardener) I had some lovely messages from some lovely people offering their help, support and sharing in my excitement about the new plot and I feel like there are plenty of people I can turn to when it all goes wrong and I’m ready to give up gardening!
A few of my favourite accounts so far, whether I love them for aesthetic, loveliness or a mixture of both, are:
Gardening requires a lot of hard work.
From setting the ground up to host a range of fruits and veggies, to actually growing and caring for them, there is a lot to be done. You could easily spend every day at the allotment and still have things that need to be done. Half of me is convinced that the fence and ground is half the battle, and from then on things will be easier. However, although this part is more labour intensive, I’m not sure it’s going to get any easier…
Allotments are addictive.
I’ve had a few people laugh and roll their eyes at me talking about my new allotment (the poor people who sit around me at work have been incredibly supportive but are probably already fed up of hearing about it) but I’m honestly obsessed already and it’s barely even started. Sometimes I can’t sleep at night because my mind is whirring with all the possibilities of things I can plant and creative ways I can make the plot look as beautiful as possible. I think that once my first crops are ready to be harvested, I’ll barely be able to contain my excitement.
There are so many amazing things you can grow at home.
The thing I’m most excited to grow is a cucamelon (look up the hashtag on Instagram) because they look like baby watermelons! They’re about the size of a grape and apparently taste like a limey-cucumber. I LOVE cucumber. I’ve also loved multi-coloured carrots and tomatoes for a few years, and the homegrown ones always taste the best. I also never knew that there were so many different types of pumpkins/squashes. I’d love to grow some munchkin pumpkins and earlier today I discovered a variety that looks a deep, petrol blue on the outside, but inside is sweet and vibrant orange. I want to grow ALL the colours at my allotment.
Gardening requires a lot of planning.
Although I knew that it wouldn’t just be randomly picking seeds and planting them whenever you feel like, hoping for the best, I didn’t realise quite how much planning is involved. From the design and layout of the plot, to the dates to sow seeds, plant out, and harvest, to the Ph of the soil, the soil type, the weather conditions, crop rotation, and the rest of it. I’ve spent HOURS trying to plan what to plant and when, but am still a long way away from the year-round fruiting garden that I dream of.
If you’d like to follow my journey and see the progress at my plot, please do head over to Instagram and give me a follow (@diaryofaladygardener). I’d be very grateful for any tips, tricks, and advice that anyone has to offer for the coming year – hopefully it’ll be a fruitful year!