Allotments have many benefits and National Allotment Week is from August 10 to 16. They bring people together and unite them in shared goals – producing healthy fresh fruit and vegetables, taking physical exercise, and enjoying social interaction.
And be prepared for hard work. But also be prepared to enjoy fresh air, the sound of bird song, a connection to the land, and a certain amount of competitiveness and pride.
I was walking towards the allotments to take some photographs when I bumped into Clair and Phil returning after watering and harvesting. Clair said, ”It is a place to escape to and feel happy. Whatever is going on around you, you can forget about it and feel proud of your achievements.”
It is a real community at the allotments in Rye Harbour and walking round you could see how much people really cared about their plot. The variety of flowers and vegetables was terrific as the photographs show.
Trudy and Andrew have had a plot for a few years now and have found it to have been a great place during this virus to have something positive to focus on. It became an escape from the “new normal”.
Jane and John commented, ”During Covid the allotment has been our sanctuary. We did not have to stay indoors and we could still be safe as the allotments are spacious. This year our plot was the tidiest it has ever been and we could plant more varieties of vegetables. French beans, runners, purple peas, mange tout and stringless beans were amongst the things we grew.
“We had a bumper crop of veg and of fruit too. Best of all we could go to the allotment, drink tea, listen to the wildlife and watch the birds. Strange how life was going on as normal for them, but was scary for us. We are very fortunate in having the allotment on our doorstep and now our family and friends are reaping the benefits of our hard work”
Aphids our constant nemesis
Jane and Martin set a goal this year to seriously battle their aphid problem. They had plenty of time to set a game-plan and the inclination to win. Jane said, “ Aphids have been our constant nemesis. They infested the fruit bushes and trees and the beans and spinach.
“So we moved some of our currant bushes out of the cage, which gave everything more space. We surrounded those plants with marigolds to encourage hoverflies and onions to deter aphids with their smell.
“Also regular spraying of soapy water helped a great deal. We had a bumper crop of blackcurrants and our larder is stocked with two batches of jam and some blackcurrant liqueur. We have won the battle for now.”
There many more stories and anecdotes but the message that comes across loud and clear is that people in Rye Harbour love their allotments, care for them with pride and are enjoying the fruit of their labours. Not much can match the joy of harvesting your own produce and eating them that night whilst they are super fresh and full of flavour and goodness.
Image Credits: Trudy Whittaker .