Living the good life: We have an allotment!
As if I don’t have enough on my plate, I’ve got an allotment to look after now.
It’s something I had been talking about for years, then life took over, and I forgot about it. Then all of a sudden, totally out of the blue, a friend suggested I get an allotment. So there was a reason I drove past the farm with the plots twice in the previous week! And here I am, renting a small plot of land on a farm and a raised bed in their poly tunnel.
The plot has been left fallow for a while. It was used for years as a plot to grow fresh veg for The Boathouse restaurant in Bangor. So you can imagine it’s been worked hard!
Here are the before photos:
You can see a fair amount of work needs done!
The digging began, and finally, in the beautiful sunny weather at the weekend, I managed to finish digging the outside plot and it’s now ready for planting potatoes, onions, sweetcorn, peas and much more.
Meanwhile in the poly tunnel, things are coming along well. That’s sponsored by Hillmount Garden Centre, who have kindly supplied all the compost and seeds needed to get my new allotment off to the best start. And I have to say it’s coming along well.
An afternoon of planting has resulted in this…. a raised bed in the poly tunnel now filling up with a vegetables. Some are almost ready to be moved out into the outside plot. I’ve already been using the lettuce and spinach leaves in salads. And there’s nothing more satisfying than knowing I’ve grown them myself!
So why did I get an allotment anyway?
Two reasons really, for my physical and mental health. In recent years I’ve pretty much abandoned gym life, mostly due to health. Having musculoskeletal issues in my rib cage didn’t really fit in with pushing chest presses and boxercise. And then depression kicked in and I didn’t even want to move, never mind exercise. Lying in bed was a much easier option.
But times have changed, and the plot of land is helping, a lot. It’s so satisfying to be digging the earth, to be actually digging and doing manual labour. I take it easy, if I feel a chest pain, I stop and rest. The sounds of the birds chirping above is awesome, the chickens and geese at the top of my field are a joy, the cows in the field next door just stop and stare when I say hello to them. The folks on the other allotments are giving me tips. My brain is learning that my chest pain isn’t a fatal heart attack, it’s just costo chondritis. My body is learning to exercise again. Oh and did I say that I cycle to the allotment as well?! It’s the gift that keeps giving.
So, one day at a time, my new plot of land is teaching me new skills, it’s finally getting me moving and it’s satisfying my need for exercise. I’m loving it!
Watch this space for allotment updates, for cooking with my vegetable haul, for healthy tips and for a summer of outdoor life. Oh and I’ll be sharing tips I’ve learnt from visiting other allotments and more about a visit to Tubbys Farm in Hillsborough to see their community garden.