We’re living in a world fraught with worry. We’re worried about the environment, our health, our finances… so, wouldn’t it be nice to solve a few of these concerns? Thankfully, there are things you can do to help combat the above troubles, and there’s a certain hobby that deals with them all, as well as bringing other benefits.
Cited as being fantastic exercise, great for the environment, and kind to your wallet, keeping an allotment is a hobby you can easily benefit from. An allotment doesn’t need to be an overgrown mess or just a patch to grow some pesticide-free veggie either — you can turn an allotment into a project worthy of art! Pretty allotments are a goal of many gardeners, and whether you’re just starting out or you have an allotment in need of a makeover, we’re here with the best tips for a beautiful plot.
The right tools for the job
As with any hobby, venture or craft, you need the right tools. The right tools don’t necessarily have to be expensive either. To maintain a good allotment, you just need a few key essentials.
The Independent produced a list of the best allotment tools — and here’s our pick of the most essential:
- Hori Hori — forget a trowel, the Hori Hori is better and handles more tasks. The bladed tool can be used to dig, cut, slice, and deal with any weeds.
- Gloves — you’ll want a good pair of gardening gloves to keep your hands protected.
- Twine — always handy to have around, a bobbin of twine should be kept at hand to help with tying bean poles and securing anything in your allotment.
If you have a small allotment, you will also benefit from some grow bags to save space and grow shallow-rooted vegetables.
The right plants for you
It’s your allotment — use it however you want to! You can grow a plethora of beautiful flowers or maybe a pretty allotment to you is one filled with a brilliant display of hand-grown vegetables and herbs. You can combine your allotment with your other hobbies too; if you’re an avid cook, the aforementioned herbs and veggies will add a new dimension to your dishes. If you’re a fan of birdwatching, your allotment can be a natural beacon for wildlife. Or perhaps you would love a quiet, natural nook to sit and read your book in peace.
Some even use their allotments for nostalgia, like an allotment discovered by The Guardian that was filled with okra and yams to give its Jamaican owner a taste of home.
In fact, you can add all kinds of variety to your allotment. You could have a pond and watch the tadpoles hatch from frogspawn or keep fish. It’s not as daunting as it sounds. Here’s how to make a little pond in your allotment:
- Dig a hole (make sure the sides are all level).
- Line it with a suitable piece of pond liner.
- Create a raised point using some stones around it so that any hapless creatures can climb out if needed.
Some people even keep bees in their plots! Ideal Home suggests you could ask about painting your shed or keeping other animals there too, like some chickens.
The right garden for you
You might be one of the many people in the UK without access to a garden, or only a small patch of lawn. If that’s the case, an allotment can serve as your own, larger garden space. Studies have shown that direct contact with greenery, such as using your hands in gardening, can boost your physical and mental health. This “grounding” technique can certainly be incorporated in your allotment plans — why not use your allotment as a secret, natural getaway and recharge in nature? You can set up a seating area and just relax in the serenity of flowers and shrubbery.
Is your time basking in nature being scuppered by pesky insects? A few herbs planted in your allotment can deter insects from visiting. Lavender is a perfect choice — it looks pretty, smells gorgeous, is well-known for its soothing properties, and repels flies and fleas. If you’re looking for a challenging, but fun addition to your plot, you could look into growing a few Venus flytraps, too!
Keeping up an allotment is a wonderful hobby, and you can shape it however you want or need. A herb garden, a vegetable patch, a wildlife haven, the list goes on. Contact your local council and they’ll be able to help locate an allotment for you to start growing!