When we put our name down for an allotment plot it was just with a mind to having more growing space (because our garden is tiny – just a yard really), and to growing our own veg.
One of the completely unexpected upsides has been the fantastic social life that has developed for us since we first went to see our little patch of earth back in 2012.
It’s not just that we now have really good allotment friends that we spend a lot of time with away from gardening. It’s also the day-to-day friendly contact with people, old and young, that live in our community. We really love where we live, but having an allotment has meant that we’ve got to know a lot more people here which makes us feel even more at home.
You might think from watching all those awful Allotment Wars type programmes on the TV that it’s a world of cut-throat competition between pedantic older men, trying to produce the longest runner bean or the perfect sweet pea. Our experience from the moment we arrived on site has been really positive, like neighbours bringing us great big bags of produce, and spare plants before we’d been able to grow any of our own. Plus, there’s always someone on hand with lots of experience and good advice. It made us feel great when fellow plot-holders told us that we were doing a good job in our first year, and was a real boost, especially given that summer 2012 was almost wall to wall rain.
We’re lucky though. We have a fantastic pavilion with a log-burning stove, which is great for get-togethers, or just a cup of tea on a cold day. And a cob oven which burns from morning ‘til night on open days churning out pizza after pizza to visitors and plot holders. And for those who just want to potter away on their own plot, that’s ok too. So all in all, it was a lovely surprise to discover the social side of gardening, as well as the joy of the great outdoors and a wide gap of sky in the cityscape.