I have mentioned before the influence something seemingly small can have on my life, and my love of gardening is no exception. Looking back on over 50+ years it is a comfort to me that gardening has always been present. Some of my most joyous childhood memories include helping my Grandad with his veg plot at the bottom of my grandparents garden.
About 12 years ago I was listening to the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2. One of his guests was Welshman, Terry Walton who was talking about his allotment. (An allotment is a plot of land that you rent for an small annual fee). This one discussion on the radio was all the inspiration I needed.
Within a week I contacted my local Allotment Association and after 2 months on the waiting list I was offered a plot, complete with a rather eccentric but marvellous shed made of recycled doors. I’ve been hooked ever since; and now spend as much time as possible tending to my fruit and vegetables (and weeds!) that I’m growing organically.
My allotment has always been a happy place for me. A sort of sanctuary where I can escape the stress of working full-time and raising two teenage daughters. Plot 10 holds a lot nostalgia for me and my family; of long hot summer days picking fruit and harvesting food to cook at home. There is something soothing about growing your own food and reminiscing about happy memories forged on our small plot of land.
There are similarities between working on my allotment and sailing. Both get me closer to the natural world in all its glory. Both also teach me that you can’t control Mother Nature, you just have to learn how best to work with her. Another similarity is that things won’t always be easy and run smoothly. I’ve learnt from yields of less than successful crops, that the key is to keep trying.
Gardening is also a great form of exercise. I’m hoping the 40 barrow loads of cow manure that I moved down to my plot a couple of months ago helped to build up my core strength. Even if the smell took some getting used to.
While I’ve been out at sea training for the Clipper Race there have been times when I’ve experienced the same wonderful feeling of inner calm – even though I’ve never sailed before, and I’m on a very steep learning curve. Sailing has the same peaceful effect as being outside on my allotment, rain or shine.
But enough of the writing. Spring is always a busy time of year for my allotment and greenhouse at home, but this year I am excited to get away for a week of Level 3 training. Lets just hope my family remember to water all the seedlings whilst I am away!