When I applied for an allotment four years ago, I envisaged it would be purely to grow fruit and vegetables that were organic, fresh, with more variety than I could get in the supermarket, where produce has the additional problem of having travelled thousands of miles to get to you. It's picked early to ensure it lasts, which means the fruits and vegetables haven’t reached full maturity, and are therefore under ripe and bland. They are also covered with pesticides and fertilisers, and then packaged with chemicals to preserve them even longer.
I’d love to buy fresh organic produce, but the reality is, it’s just not possible within a modest budget. That’s why growing my own is the best option, giving me the freshest possible food, at a fraction of the price. My plot works out at £1 per square meter, per year. My 450sqm plot is enough for me and my partner to be sufficient 90% of the year, whilst more goes to family and friends. I grow almost 100 varieties, so there’s never a dull meal.
There are some other health benefits of growing my own food that I didn’t expect. I call my allotment my haven, because it is exactly that. It is my place where I can go to relax and work at a slower pace of life, away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. Whenever I am stressed, it is my saviour. Half an hour of digging releases any tension, and doing physical work in a tranquil setting, surrounded by nature, lets you forget the stresses and strains of life. It’s such a good, full body work out that I don’t need a gym membership. I’m stronger and healthier than I have ever been before.
Author credit: Hayley Moisley