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National Allotments Week 12-18 August 2019

22nd August 2019

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Forgot to celebrate National Allotments Week? Catch-up on these posts all about allotments from some of our favourite Instagram stars

Each year, the National Allotment Society holds a National Allotments Week, and this year’s week ran from the 12-18 August. Each year has a theme, and 2019’s was a shared harvest so we couldn’t help but share in the celebrations. National Allotments Week has been running now for 13 years, starting in 2002 in order to raise awareness of how allotments help people to live healthier lifestyles, develop friendships, grow their own food as well as bolster communities. Allotment sites also help to bring people together, often from all walks of life who, under normal circumstances, might never have met. They also provide a place for people living with mental and physical health conditions to spend their time, recover and to share their stories.

So what does this year’s theme of a shared harvest mean? There comes a point in most growing seasons (around this time of year), when our plants are producing more crops than we could ever possibly pickle, freeze or dry, let alone eat. The extra fruit and veg is great to share with others and generous allotment holders start handing out bag-fulls of broad beans, gluts of courgettes and armfuls of beetroot to whoever would like them. But the theme of a shared harvest doesn’t just mean handing out food stuffs to friends and family, or leaving it outside of the front door for people to take for free or leave a donation for (although this is a nice thing to do, too). It also means sharing our harvest in other ways. For example, sharing surplus fruit and veg with worthy causes in the community or posting a photograph of the allotment on social media to help inspire others. It can also mean sharing the space with other people in your life - for example, teaching them how to grow fruit and veg, growing fresh food for them to eat (even if they’re too young to know where it came from), and sharing it with the memory of a loved one.

To celebrate this year’s National Allotments Week, we teamed up with some of our favourite social media stars who shared with us their images, tips, tricks and reflections over on our Instagram. Every day, for five days, we were treated to a new post from these accounts, each taking a different angle on this year’s theme. So you don’t miss out on the celebrations, we’ve included each of these posts below, so you can learn all about what makes allotment gardening great.

1. Lucy Start, aka @shegrowsveg

Lucy Start is an edible garden designer, garden writer and Heritage Seed Library ambassador who posts regularly from her plot in Suffolk. Lucy also has a YouTube channel She Grows Veg

“It’s time to plant some brassica babies in my net tunnel. I have chard, cabbages and cauliflowers going in today and some sprouting broccoli on the way. Im hoping that once these have established in the warmth of August, the cooler, wetter weather of autumn will prevent bolting and allow these lovelies to grow nice and big ready to fill that hungry gap next spring.”

2. Kirsty Ward, aka @my_little_allotment

Kirsty is the proud owner of an organic allotment and vegetable garden in Lincolnshire. She can often be found tweeting with the hashtags #everyonecangrowtheirown and #bigmaxpumpkin2019 and is a brilliant ambassador for encouraging each and every one of us to get growing no matter our skills, experience or age.

“Growing your own can sometimes be more difficult than expected. For the past two seasons, I have really struggled growing some more simple vegetables, yet chillies, tomatoes, cucamelons have grown with no worries. Beetroot has been my absolute nemesis, I have tried different ways to grow beetroot over the past couple of seasons and only ever managed to grow a few. Finally this year I’ve had great success, now I have beetroot coming out of my ears. I think if you have an allotment it can be frustrating when things don’t grow well, just remember to research more, don’t give up and you can always try again next year.”

3. Rachel, aka @thegoodlifeainteasy

Rachel is a gardener, writer and self-styled crazy chicken lady from Surrey.

“The smallest green fingers in the family might not be able to share in our allotment harvests just yet, but that hasn’t stopped me getting excited about weaning him on some homegrown produce! Becoming a new mum and keeping the plot going has been challenging at times (and really challenging at others!) but it’s taught me two valuable allotment lessons: 1) grow what you love to eat, especially if you don’t have lots of time and 2) ENJOY IT! It’s been a massive identity adjustment becoming a mother but the plot has given me five minutes to breathe, which I think makes me a better mum. Rather than get stressed out over weeds, this year I’m taking a laid-back approach and focusing on the positive benefits of being outside and watching the allotment change each month. When things go wrong or you’re ever feeling like an allotment is a big commitment - I recommend you do the same”

4. Joe, aka @grow_with_joe

Joe is a fruit and veg grower, plant lover and garden writer who shares his experiences of growing his own with his family on his Instagram and also over on his blog.

“These guys were one of the main reasons I made the decision to sign up for an allotment three years ago. I was lucky enough to grow up in a house which had a large garden with an orchard, chickens and a vegetable patch which my grandad expertly tended to. It’s in this vegetable patch I have so many happy memories helping my granddad which I still look back on fondly 30 years later. At our allotment, I wanted to teach our children where our food comes from and how to grow it themselves, hopefully creating some lovely memories along the way too.”

5. Danni, aka @plot.81

Danni is the proud owner of her plot since June 2017 and shares her diary of her organic and no-dig allotment life on her Instagram.

“My allotment is a little unconventional, it’s kind of kept as a 50/50 growing/chill space. I’ve made a big seating area and have hidden benches around the fruit orchard and pond so there’s lots of places to sit and watch the wildlife. My little plot gave me a lot of respite when I lost my mum to cancer this time last year, I spent around eight-ten hours there every single day for three months and it really helped to clear my head just to be outside gardening and working on little projects. My mum used to have a corner of her garden dedicated to my late grandmother so I’ve done the same for her in my allotment, using cuttings from her garden in Kent. A lot of people think they couldn’t keep an allotment because they’re not green fingered but it’s about so much more than growing fruit and veg. I really recommend an allotment to anybody that feels as though they need a bit of time to themselves. The food is a bonus”

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