At first I was afraid, I was petrified…

We’ve all been there.

Stood at the gates of the allotment plot with a feeling of nervousness swirling round the pit of your stomach wondering what lies in wait for you.

Will you be met with a wall of brambles?

Will the weeds be higher than you are?

If you can get in, will you make it back out?!

Ok, that all sounds a little dramatic but I can honestly say I’d been dreading what I’d be facing when I decided to head to the allotment over the Christmas break. I’d been discussing what to do with the allotment with my partner Andy. There  have been big changes in my life over the last year, and as much as I love the allotment, I’ve been struggling to find the time to really get the most out of it. After much soul searching I not only decided to make a big effort and carve out time to get back in there, I persuaded Andy to get in there with me too! Well, with twice the people power, all those jobs should be done in half the time right?!

I should point out that Andy is an absolute beginner when it comes to gardening and if I’m sharing this with you, I might as well be honest…. he’s not overly keen on veggies either! However, he’s super keen to get his hands dirty, to learn all he can about running a productive plot and he’s an absolute star in the kitchen and can’t wait to get cooking with all our home grown produce. As the blog develops, one of my hopes is to share all the recipes we create along the way. There’s such joy in cooking using seasonal crops, they taste so much better than anything you can buy in the supermarkets and who knows…. maybe Andy might try some types of vegetables he’d never think of buying in the shops! (Although I’m not holding my breath about him becoming a broccoli convert though)

And so, as we took a little anxious trip to the allotment we tightened our chin straps and headed in.

It was bad.

We were greeted with waist high weeds, overgrown beds and arching bramble canes that were almost as thick as your arm.

But after getting over the initial shock it actually helped us to form our plan.

We’ve decided to totally clear the plot and redesign it from scratch with a totally new and exciting layout, which will encompass some new ideas we’ve never tried before. Our newly combined family now consists of a teenager and a 6 year old and in a bid to get them involved we will be giving them their own little plots to grow whatever they like. They were only slightly disappointed that you can’t grow pizza trees.

Our next steps are to plan what we are going to grow, and how best to redesign the plot to get the best year long supply of produce.

One crop we are definitely keen to try growing are hops. We love real ale and think it would be really cool to try and make our own beer. More research is needed and we’d love to hear from anyone out there who has tried growing hops, what worked and what didn’t and any specific varieties which may be best suited for growing in the north of England.

Happy gardening x



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