Taking care of an allotment plot is never about saving money on food – and Birmingham Council have ensured it could never be, given the huge plot rent increases. Tending a plot gives so much more than the crops that you harvest. Here’s a few good reasons:
- Growing your own food provides the gardener with opportunities and excuses to go outside and realise that what looked like a grey, cold winter day is actually rather nice.
- Digging provides an opportunity for head space, for time to mull things over, while also focusing on the amazing tenacity of bindweed and couch grass that really ought to be put to a constructive use rather than taking up all my time!
- Making good use of time growing food makes you wonder why other people would want to spend each weekend wandering around indoor shopping centres, missing out on the feeling of muddy fingernails despite the gardening gloves and the sight of the first strawberry beginning to blush.
- The satisfaction felt from a harvest that provides all the food for your family meal takes a lot of beating
- and in addition to all this, I can thank the plot for the inspiration in my ‘Plot to Plate‘ design collection too.
Its a really good feeling when the crops are bountiful. The hard work of winter has paid off, the patience with the frosts and the protection from the birds has worked out okay and you get great stuff to eat for the commitment you give. With a fully laden bike and a handful of sweet peas to grasp on the handle bars you head home like a hunter gatherer from a previous age.
The thing is, when all goes well its an amazing feeling to be able to pass on the surplus to others who will also enjoy the success. Some years at the site we all have gluts of the same thing, other years we wonder what we did wrong when others are almost complaining about too many onions, and nothing has come of ours. It’s a great thing that there is never resentment to another successful gardener, but pleasure in their success. We share tips and ideas, timings and tools as well as the odd cast-off seedling and you’d be a fool to pass on the offer of parsnip seeds from Tony!
When a fellow plot-holder offered me her excess apples and pears today I politely declined at first, thinking that she would find something else to turn them in to, another apple tart, another crumble – really! too many apples? We have had a poor year in that regard. But there is a great sense of pleasure in offering ‘help’ in accepting the produce. We really are the winners in this hand-me down act, but it also feels as if we are doing a great favour in accepting the gift of free, home-grown food, enabling the grower to experience their own sense of generosity, good-spirit and community mindfulness, and saving them the feeling of not letting down the very fruit that served them so well this year – not bad for a bag of apples and pears – thanks!