After years of being on the waiting list, we finally have a little allotment plot. Technically it is our friend’s plot, but with two young children and limited time, they gave us half of it so we could share the work and create a space for our kids to connect with nature and be wild and free. Sharing a plot with friends is a great way of working an allotment – you have people to water if you are away, you can share your bumper gluts when they come in thick and fast, and it makes the experience of growing, tending and harvesting a social one.
Whilst the total plot has been halved so each family have their own ends and areas to invest in, we also have plans for some joint projects that both families can work on together. Unsurprisingly these mostly focus around creating interest for our four children, including building a mud kitchen, sowing a wild flower patch in the middle of the two plots to connect them, creating a seating area for us all to enjoy cups of tea and to give the kids somewhere to sit and draw, and finding a secondhand swingset for the kids to play on.
At our end we will be planting a variety of fruits and veggies as well as some cutting flowers to make it not only a productive space, but also a beautiful one. It’s very early days and with Spring arriving just last week we have only started to lay the foundations for the summer months of harvesting ahead. I thought I’d share my plans for our plot and keep you updated on progress here as we go through the seasons.
Here’s a list of what we plan to grow this summer:
- Courgettes (green and golden)
- Butternut squash
- Swiss Chard
- Lettuce (various varieties)
- Pears (we inherited a little pear tree so we shall see if it produces fruit)
- Plums (inherited)
- Apples (inherited)
- Calendula (edible)
- Nasturtiums (edible)
- Sweet peas
- Sunflowers (black magic and yellow)
- Wild flowers (poppies, cornflower etc)
That feels like a lot as I type it all out but we’re putting no pressure on what actually works and are just keen to try things out and see what we manage to grow. Most of the legumes we will try to sow from seed and plant out as plants when they are big enough and the final frosts are over but we will supplement these with small plants from our local nursery for things that fail as seed. I will also buy some of the flowers as plants/tubers including dahlias, sweet peas, and lavender whilst the other flowers have been sown at home in trays and are coming up as seedlings already.
Our sunflowers are ready to plant out on the plot already and lots of our other legume seedlings need to be potted on into bigger pots so they can get more established. We planted our onions and garlic at the weekend and sowed some of our seeds direct in the ground, (I am interested to see if they work). Otherwise the plot was in pretty good condition when we inherited it. Aside from giving it a really good dig over and adding some rich compost to the soil, I’ve only had to take out a prickly, woody rose that was half dead, and prune back the rosehip which is in the centre of our two half plots. The children have also scattered two packets of wild flower seeds at the far end of our patch to create a little wildlife corner to encourage bees and butterflies to visit. I imagine it will be a fair bit of work, an investment of our time and money initially, but seeing the enthusiasm from our children to grow their very own food and flowers has been heart warming. I’m already dreaming of late spring afternoons when we can go down to the allotment after school for picnics in the sunshine.