An allotment is a great way to ensure you get a regular supply of fresh fruit and vegetables!
Allotments are plots of land given to local community members so they can grow their own fruit and vegetables. The tradition dates back hundreds of years, to when poorer people needed the land as their main source of food. Nowadays you rent an allotment from your local council or a private landlord.
The waiting lists for Allotments are long, so if you’re thinking about getting one, then you should apply straight away. Most people who rent them make good use of them.
We reached out to Gransnet, who gave us 7 good reasons to have an allotment.
Keeping an allotment is a great form of exercise. From the more intensive clearing process at the beginning (here’s where you ask a family member or two to lend a hand) to the planting and watering later on, this is a brilliant form of exercise because you get to decide the pace.
“My husband and I took took over an allotment earlier this year and after a lot of work digging and clearing we’re now planning what to plant next year.”
“I have a huge allotment which keeps me fit.”
2. You eat more fruit and vegetables…and they’re free of pesticides
If you do your homework and plan your new allotment carefully, before long you’ll have more than enough homegrown, pesticide-free, super-nutritious fruit and vegetables. Whether you’re trying to eat a little healthier or just can’t get enough of fresh peas, getting an allotment is a great way of encouraging a more nutritious diet.
“I always loathed broad beans until a friend with an allotment brought me a bagful of freshly picked beans. I could have dined on the smell alone.”
“We had carrots, parsnips, sweetcorn and potatoes from the allotment for tea tonight and tomatoes from the greenhouse. Followed by homegrown blackberries, which were sweet and juicy.”
“We have lovely lunches of whatever is ready. A typical lunch is beetroot, fennel, courgettes, garlic, onions etc roasted in olive oil and balsamic vinegar with garlic bread to mop up the juices.”
“Each day I’m gathering strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, broad beans, the last of the rhubarb, and a few Bramley apples. I love it when I can pick fruit and vegetables minutes before they’re needed.”
3. Help the environment
Allotments are good for the environment because growing your own food will reduce your personal carbon footprint compared to shop-bought alternatives – and you will limit the packaging used.
Growing organic vegetables will also benefit the environment as you help limit the amount of pesticides and other harmful chemicals in the soil.
4. Sense of community
Keeping an allotment is a great way of making friends. You’ll quickly get a sense of your ‘neighbours’ and the allotment community to which you belong. While there are many joys of allotments, from fresh air to homegrown produce, looking after your little plot makes you an active part of the local community.
“Your new best friends are the other allotment holders. At the one down our road they bulk buy everything you might need and share goods and seeds too.”
5. Routine, project work and daily maintenance
If you have recently retired and struggle a little with the lack of daily tasks and routines, keeping an allotment could be the perfect solution. As well as keeping you busy, maintaining an allotment is a project which requires planning. Seeing a project through from start to finish or, in allotment terms, from clearing to produce can be extremely rewarding.
6. Saves you money
Once you get the hang of things – and your allotment starts to give back – growing your own produce can be a very cost-effective way of living, especially if you grow perennial fruit and vegetables.
“When I see the cost of raspberries in the shops, I think growing our own makes total sense.”
“It’s hard work keeping up with the allotment, so writing down all the lovely fruit and vegetables we get does remind me of why we take the trouble.”
7. Allotments and grandchildren
It’s no secret that children love the magic of DIY and growing your own produce on an allotment is no exception. Get the grandchildren involved in the planting and watering and visit the allotment together every few weeks to check-in on their little projects.
“Produce that is picked and eaten immediately is so much tastier and our grandchildren love picking their own food. They are thrilled during the asparagus season and eat it like sweets. I grow peas in large pots at home for them to eat raw.”
“Recently, my granddaughter was offered some asparagus to which the little madam said ‘I don’t like Sainsbury’s asparagus. I only eat freshly picked asparagus from Nanna’s allotment’. I offered her brother strawberries yesterday and he politely said ‘no thank you’, then discovered they were fresh off the allotment and changed his mind.”