Growing your own fruit and vegetables is more popular than ever. Whether driven by the increased interest in knowing exactly where the food you eat has come from, through to the increased time people have had throughout 2020 to try something new. Today, many people have the desire to live as healthily as possible. What we eat plays a huge part in that, alongside exercise and mental wellbeing. There is also the concern about how food is produced and transported. When you grow you own, these worries are simply not a factor.
Benefits of growing on an allotment include freshness, seasonal nature, and locally produced.
Fresh - Your own, home-grown food, dug straight out of the earth, picked or eaten straight from the vine or tree.
Seasonal - When at their peak of ripeness or maturity, fruit and vegetables not only taste better, but can be harvested and eaten at their proper time in the season.
Local - Produce grown by our own hand have been done so close to home, and not transported to you from all corners of the world.
The starting process
All you need to begin growing your own fruit and vegetables are a few things. Find yourself a bit of land, purchase some seeds which you can sow into the ground, and away you go. However, to really take advantage of the ability to grow your own and feed both yourself and your family, you will need to invest a little bit more time and effort. Gain some knowledge and begin to plan out what you need to be planting, and crucially when they need to be planted, and you can be gaining a plentiful amount of produce throughout the year.
During the summer and the autumn, you will likely to be harvesting far more than you could possibly eat. Remember though, you can always freeze anything you are not able to consume. Otherwise, giving it away to friends and family could be a great, well-received option. During the winter-time, you will find that crops become much more scarce. The more hardy vegetables, such as leeks, cabbages, and kale, along with root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, and swedes, will become your reliance.
Learning the ropes
Throughout your time with an allotment, you will always be learning new things. You will find new techniques to try, new things to grow, and new challenges to tackle. Weather will play a huge part in all of this. From long spells of dry weather during the summer, with frequent watering trips required, to early over-night frosts as the summer season draws to a close. You will constanly be keeping one eye on what the weather is doing, and what you need to be doing in response to it. The biggest tip one can take, is to ask those on your allotment site for help or advice. Most often you will find people are more than happy to help and share their own tips and advice on things, and you never know in the future you may well be the one giving out advice of your own!
The allotment site
When you first accept the challenge of taking on an allotment plot, you will want to assess the potential of the site. Start by determining what state the plot is in, looking initially at whether it has been previously cared for or if it has been left to its own devices. If the plot is overgrown, see if you can determine if there is any clue as to how it has previously been looked after. If the plot is relatively clear and previously has been looked after, see if you can discover what the previous tenant grew in different areas. Deduce wheter you want to keep any of the existing features on the plot, perhaps pathways or borders to beds, fruit trees, compost bins, etc. or would you rather start from scratch and clear it back to nothing.
What you want
What you don't want