Hawkwell Herbology: Allotments - A Family Legacy

Hawkwell Herbology: Allotments - A Family Legacy

Gardening often runs in the family. Sara is the latest in her family line of allotmenteers. Autumn/Winter time on a brand new allotment, means there's a lot of preparation for the next growing season to be done.

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My Grandad had an allotment. He and Grandma lived in Wood Green in a terraced house with a small garden. So Grandad took two buses to his allotment and two buses back. When he died, Grandma made my Dad and I take two buses to clear the allotment of things growing above ground and below. Then we heaved the lot of it two buses back... several times. He loved his allotment - he loved being social. And now, so do I.

So, I have taken on an allotment. We do have sufficient land at our home to grow fruit and veg but, obviously, I have had first dibs and have dug up ground for my herbs! Just for me. Not to sell.

Mostly, I sell my herbs in pots, so as to better accommodate those who might not have gardens of their own. But having ground in which to put herbs does mean I can answer questions about herbs in the ground as well as in pots. So I have dug up land around my beloved Rhino in order to put a few herbs there, so I can keep an eye on them. (I am always weeding those beds around the Rhino - can't let standards slip around the Rhino!)

So, my husband has one allotment and I have another - we are allotment neighbours. He is focusing on fruit and veg. I am focusing on herbs and flowers. Just for me. Not to sell. My husband has dug over his plot. Double digging. With fork and spade etc. He is a farmer's son. He does things the hard way.... I, on the other hand, have just covered the overgrown, weed infested, raised beds with old carpet/other coverings in the hope that when next year arrives, the weeds will be easier to dig out.

I shall report back on that! In the meantime, I am focusing on making my own compost. Using the manure from the hens in particular. That way I can feed the soil when the time is right. Which is probably now but... My aunt tells me (as my Dad is dead so cannot tell me things about his parents' allotment) that Grandad used to cover his beds with old carpet to 'give the soil a rest' so I do feel that perhaps I am on the right track in some way. And he never bought compost or soil. They made it. So I am carrying on with his way.

A love for the outdoors and of getting one's hands into the dirt is something that tends to go down the family tree. And I think it important that we retain our connection to the land. It makes us grateful for what we are gifted by this planet, and to be mindful of the legacy our whole human family will leave behind.


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