Sunday, September 18, 2011

Beginnings

The first thing I ever grew was a sunflower.  I was ten, and it started life alongside 35 other milk-cartons on a school windowsill.  I took it home for the summer holidays and it grew to be taller than me in the front porch.  I was hooked.

In the years after, I slowly expanded into marigolds and dabbled in poppies and snapdragons.  When I was 15, we moved house, and the very first year an unspoken rivalry began with my new neighbour to grow the tallest sunflower.  He always won, until I discovered his secret weapon (tomato food).  I grew some peas one year, herbs another, and slowly my interest grew.

In 2006, I bought a house with my sister and suddenly control of the garden was mine!  We dug up most of the back garden, I planted raspberry canes, lettuce and carrots and even grew courgettes in the front garden.  Growing our own food was a revelation – how good a radish tasted, fresh beetroot, crisp salad leaves. But it was a small garden…..

In September 2009 I was dreaming of having more garden, more space, more potential to expand.  I came across a site about private allotments in Donabate.  I rang the owner that afternoon, went to visit an hour later, and signed my lease the next day.  I now had LAND.

And it looked like this:



Going from grassy field to what the plot is today was a very gradual process.  I did some things right, a lot of things wrong, and learned so much.  This is how my plot looked last month:



This is after two  years of hard work, and with a lot of help from my family.  This assistance has ranged from helping me assemble my shed on a freezing day in February 2010, to turning up with lunch at just the right moment, to digging a pond and helping to eat mountains of courgettes.  Having an allotment is a communal enterprise.

This blog will hopefully give anyone who is thinking of renting an allotment an insight into what’s involved – the hard work, the benefits, the highs and lows.

2 comments:

  1. Best wishes with your new blog! Plot looks brilliant, looks like you've been tending it for years. The effort put in over the two seasons is very evident.

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  2. Thanks Conn! It's been a good summer. But there's always more to do, as I'm sure you know!

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