|Are We True Allotment Plotters?|
|When l researched the potential of allotment gardening and taking on board a plot of land to grow produce, l asked myself several questions.|
The main one was, why do l want to do this?
The initial idea was slightly less specific than how the vision stands today … principally. It was to have some chickens to produce eggs because Suze and l eat a lot of eggs weekly.
How many eggs do l hear you ask?
Well, l have four eggs on average daily, sometimes six, and it’s one of my basics, whilst Suze has maybe a dozen a week. On those numbers alone, the requirement for this household is a minimum of 37 eggs per week consumed. That is a viable reason for having your egg layers.
The price of eggs is shifting upwards, and considering how much it is to keep chickens, it is the cheaper option to have access to your own layers.
The other initial reason was to have somewhere to move the compost operation rather than have it in the Willow garden. The final reason was to grow a few essential vegetables for the table.
Over about four weeks, however, the initial theory for the plot was changing and had changed considerably. Yes, we still wanted chickens for eggs, to move the compost and for ‘essential tabletop vegetable production. But, we also wanted to widen our ranges to encompass much broader fields of productive growth and ideas.
We knew we could not grow and get everything we wanted in the garden behind the house. Not having a plot of land was no longer an option.
There were also other options l wanted to introduce into my life, and the business that l couldn’t hope to achieve in the garden either as l needed a much more significant one to focus my attention on. I have a wish to create a compost course and also one for worm farming, you may remember me discussing this briefly in the Guy blog earlier this year
So with that in mind, Suze and l looked at the reasons for and against an allotment, and once we analysed everything, we would ask ourselves the all-important question.
|Are We True Allotment Plotters?|
|First, we looked at some of the main disadvantages of having an allotment.|
An allotment requires considerable working time, especially in the first year to eighteen months and after that it does become slightly easier although it will still need a chunk of your week.
Although tasks will be easier to maintain as they run your way and to your schedule. The chickens alone need to be released from the coop in the morning and returned in the evening seven days a week. That is a considerable commitment right there.
Whilst a gardener doesn’t need to spend a fortune setting up a plot, there are still initial costs to be counted at the beginning. You cannot run an allotment like a business in the UK, you are not allowed to make money from your land so initial starting costs might be higher.
When you start, there will be expenditures and you will endeavour to drive them back through the savings your plot awards you in the way of grown produce.
We wanted to introduce some items, like the ability to harvest rainwater – which would mean water butts and guttering and the purchase of the livestock and the chicken coop. Other costs would be for composting setup and worm farms. Would we be able to pay for these with produce within X period?
Neither Suze nor l are as young as we once were, and more importantly, our health has been a little questionable in the last couple of years. Running an allotment is hard graft. You don’t need to be superhuman to work in an allotment, but you need determination and enthusiastic energy.
Above everything, to be aware of aches and pains in places you didn’t know you had, and backaches – if this is too much of an issue, an allotment might not be an excellent idea.
Weeds are the bane of most gardens, never mind when you have a lot of open ground, which can mean a lot more weed management. You must learn prevention methods and companionship strategies, such as working alongside the weeds and making them work for you. If you can’t cope with the downsides of green, running an allotment may be a hardship.
When the rains fall and keep falling, this can prove to be a little disheartening for some gardeners and equally, if the rains do not fall and a brutal summer is on the books like we experience here during the summer of 2022, this too can prove to be quite dissatisfying and economically costly, especially if you have to start shipping water in. But so too can be the frustrations of snow and ice and frozen solid grounds.
|Well, whilst there were a few others, these five were the ones we indeed examined first. Would these reasons be sufficient to put us off? |
The answer was no.
In a nutshell, we have the time to spend, the funds available, and we have done the calculations even with poor weather and gardening accidents worked in, and the weather has never really bothered us.
Working outside is supposed to be good for one’s health, and we will become fitter still. Of course, if it is cold, you wear more clothing to begin with and soon you’ll warm up and strip them off – that’s the beauty of layers.
|Then we looked at the advantages for wanting and having an allotment.|
|Living an organic lifestyle.|
Doing more for the environment, reducing our footprint, growing chemical-free vegetables, growing seasonal vegetables our way and taking responsibility for our actions. Having accountability for as much as we can.
Improved health and mindfulness.
Being outside in all weathers, both good and bad and being surrounded by nature as well as working with the soil is a known and recognised fact to aiding and improving a person’s mental and physical health. The social element of allotment gardening is also something that shouldn’t be ignored. You are working with a community of like-minded individuals who can and will share their experiences with you freely.
I know how l feel when l produce a great batch of compost or a great worm harvest, or even when l can help someone else discover something they didn’t know and the joys of learning something you didn’t from others and working that knowledge into success — making all your hard work rewarding and profitable on a personal level.
Despite everything, whilst the opening financial outlays might be costly when you start, an allotment will pay huge dividends to those who work their lands. Once you establish a regularity to your working week, make the time to improve the land and eventually have your plot working to the fullest potential, you will see the savings.
The true beauty of managing your plot of land, your allotment is not just for producing vegetables, fruits, herbs or flowers for the table and so on. It’s not just about creating great composts and mulches for the soils and working them in. It isn’t always about community and mental well-being but fundamentally about how you grow with the experience. The satisfaction you derive from your allotment.
|Once Suze and l looked at the reasons for and against in detail and didn’t look worried, we knew we would be great allotment plotters. |
The best we could do was try. The best anyone can do is to give something new a try, your best shot.
That is our plan.
To start a new adventure together.
|Next Episode …|
Plot 17 – The Earthly Comforts Garden
|Thanks for reading and see you next time|