When we sowed our first seeds in the front postage stamp garden six years ago, I never would have thought that we would be where we are today. What started off as a bit of a project; to grow a few things to eat in the Summer, to show the children how food was grown, and to get back to our roots (see what I did there) has blossomed into a way of life. Homegrown food is pretty fantastic.Now we have an allotment; it’s 10 metres x 20 metres (200 sq metres), and this year for the first time the role of tending to the allotment is shared equally between my husband and I. Up until last Summer having a wee one and working on a book meant that I was limited in what I could do. However he’s now a big three year old who is happy to stay on the plot, play with his toys, and not go running off.
In the past few months we’ve put hundreds of hours of hard work into our small patch of heaven. We’ve shifted many tonnes of compost, manure, and stone. We’ve sown our little hearts out and there are an awful lot more seeds to sow. I’ve nutured seedlings and plants until they are old enough to be planted into their permanent spots. My kitchen has become a nursery once again with the windowsill covered in potted-on melons, aubergines, and tomatoes at the moment.
Homegrown food is not a hobby. It’s a way of life. From the minute the children arrive on the plot they are learning – as are we I should add! They know how to identify seedlings and what we are growing; they see seeds thriving, and understand how important bees, worms, spiders, and bugs are to us. My husband and I work together, side by side, towards a common goal. We problem-solve issues together, fix things that are broken, and plan for the future. For the most part the phones/devices stay put away, although I like to take the odd picture, and sometimes they come in handy for distracting the small ones if they are tired. I realise that it might sound like I’m painting a picture of rosy-cheeked children and smiley faces. It’s important to add that there are also frustrations and (sometimes) raised voices. Like when the birds demolished a row of dwarf bean seedlings, or wind-proofing the plot. There were plenty of curse words used then let me assure you!
This year for the first time we hope to be able to “shop at the allotment/food stores” for our fresh fruit, vegetables, and pork and reduce the amount of products we buy in the supermarket. This is because we’ve carefully planned our vegetables and fruit to grow over the Summer months and into the Winter, then beyond.As I’ve said from the day I started blogging – it’s about the “Whole-Sum”, and understanding that we need to pass on life skills to the children, and teach them how to fend for themselves (and others) in a very fundamental way.
Maybe some of the thoughts and images I’ve shared today might make you consider starting to grow even some of your own food. Growing your own food doesn’t have to be on a large scale and so I think that the Cully & Sully “Give Peas A Chance” Grow Challenge is a great way of testing out just 1 seed. I love the competitive element to it too!If you are getting back into the garden over the next few weeks then the GroMór Movement is there to help in garden centres nationwide. I’ve visited quite a few garden centres in the past week and every single one has masses of information, advice, and plants to get you started.
Growing your own food can radically change your life. If you want to see how much growing a few spuds can change lives then do check out my friends at Vita Ireland. If you’re passing through Dublin Airport in the next few months try to take some time to visit their photography exhibition on the mezzanine floor at Terminal 1.
Meanwhile I’m off to do the washing and cook the dinner. I’d much rather be at the allotment but I can’t live there!
Disclosure: Any of the projects/companies/organisations mentioned in the above post are personal endorsements. This is not a sponsored blogpost.
If you’d like to hear more of my allotment updates you can listen in to my podcast here: