The allotment – a small parcel of land rented to individuals usually for the purpose of growing food crops. This was the reason that I decided to follow thousands of other before me, dating back to Saxon times in fact, and put myself on the local allotment waiting list. Almost a year ago my time came and I began the adventure, and shall we say learning curve of being an allotment owner.
Let me start by introducing myself. I’m Chris, I’m 25 years old and I live in the market town of Morpeth in Northumberland. Hobbies include running, tennis and watching the ‘mighty Sunderland’. Certainly no history of green fingers in the family.
So, I had my plot. Ahead of me was months of fresh fruit and vegetables, and most importantly, huge savings on my weekly food bill. So I thought. In fact, there were a number of hidden benefits waiting to be discovered.
The first is the obvious one, fresh organic vegetables on tap. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to grow vegetables, and how successful my debut year would be. I’ve spent the last few months trying to find things to do with swarms of leeks, potatoes and spinach. Never again will you have ‘nothing to eat’. A quick trip to the allotment and you have a veritable feast at your finger tips.
Now for the less obvious benefits that I can share with you. Birds, they love allotments. Well, that’s obvious you may think. A multitude of worms and bugs just waiting to be eaten. No no, I’m not talking pigeons and tits. I’m talking about birds, the non-feathered variety.
I became single shortly after gaining my membership to Morpeth’s Allotment Association. I was back on the market, and needed to get out there and tell the female population of North-East England what a great catch I was. No problem I thought. I own my own house, nice car, good job. Surely I’d be batting them off with a stick. Well, I’m not one to kiss and tell, but it’s safe to say today’s lady is a little harder to impress. On a particularly bad first date on a grey Tuesday evening in Newcastle I searched for anything, absolutely anything to fill the classic awkward silence. I mentioned my allotment and watched her ears prick up, and eyes open wide. Bingo. It seems for some reason that the ladies of today like a man with a big plot. Maybe it’s the hunter gatherer image, or the thought of a summers’ supply of strawberries. Maybe it’s just because it sets you apart from the other people on ‘the market’. Whatever it is, they love it. A reason in itself to get yourself on a waiting list.
Now the health benefits. An obvious one you may say. Indeed, the vegetables you grow will contain many vital nutrients and vitamins to keep your body ticking over, but there’s more. You’ll be able to cancel that expensive gym membership. A weekend of digging, forking and weeding will leave you as stiff as any workout. And don’t forget all the fresh air you’ll get when working on your patch. In particular, the vitamin D that your skin produces when exposed to the sun will keep your bones healthy and increase your protection against a number of cancers.
So, have I convinced you? Your new allotment won’t only improve your diet, but also your lifestyle. You’ll be healthy, tanned, fit, with a girl on each arm. What are you waiting for? And if you can’t find a local allotment association then why not dig over some of the garden? After all, what use is grass?