When we first set foot on our allotment we were ready for a new family adventure. We were full of enthusiasm and grand plans for our little plot, but we were also a busy family with limited time and knowledge. We knew we wouldn’t get everything right first time but we were determined to have fun trying!
Here’s a visual record of our first few months. I think it shows how a plot can be developed, but it’s also a great introduction to what my blog is all about – making gardens, allotments and outdoor spaces work for a busy family.
March – we take on our plot. It’s covered in annual weeds and not much else, a dauntingly blank canvas. The wonky shed is old, leaky and being held up by the nearby hedge but it has character. A future project no doubt.
The kids charge around while I get on with hoeing, hoeing and more hoeing – not easy in a rainstorm but the subsequent rainbow perks us up. I decide I need to buy a flask for those all-important tea breaks.
April – we have the plot rotavated; in future we want to dig it over ourselves but we’re running out of time to get planting so we take the quick option. In go the first crops – new potatoes and onions.
Next we add a raised bed for each of the children and let them loose on the seed catalogue to choose what they want to grow. A mammoth seed planting afternoon at home gets me thinking that we may need more space than our tiny greenhouse provides…
May – We can’t quite believe it, but everything is growing! We plant up the kids beds just as the temperatures start to soar and suddenly they’re obsessed with looking after their own little patch. Magical.
June – it’s starting to feel like there’s almost as much greenery as there is brown earth. I stop thinking “we’ll never fill this space” and start thinking “where am I going to fit this in”. We harvest our first potatoes and they taste amazing.
July – the plot is unrecognisable compared to just 4 months ago. The first of the children’s blooms appear and they are beyond proud. We harvest broad beans, peas, mangetout, french beans, potatoes, strawberries and a lot of courgettes!
August – the secondhand greenhouse moves in, a bit late to have much impact this year but we’re starting to think about next year already. The plot is looking a bit scruffy now but the produce keeps on coming; onions, sweetcorn, carrots, runner beans, chard. We go on holiday and miss our visits badly.
Writing this has made me realise just how far we came in a few short months. Yes we worked hard, but we really did fit it in around family life and it really was loads of fun. And it was just the beginning; with gardening you’re never ‘finished’ and there’s always a new plan, a new challenge from nature or a new design just around the corner. We’ll always be learning and that’s a big part of the fun.
Do you think you could make an allotment work for your family?