The perfect place to come and escape

The perfect place to come and escape featured grower, Holly (@holly_and_her_allotment) loved spending time in nature and the outdoors from a young age. In this blog post, she recalls how she started her gardening journey, what she loves to grow, and what she finds the most challenging. An NHS worker, she also says how gardening is very much a mindful activity, and gives her space to escape from her busy work. Read on to find out more. 

Holly loved nature and the outdoors from a young age, and have fond memories of being in the garden at her parents’ and grandparents’ houses. “My parents made me a small plot to try growing vegetables back in 2015, and I was lucky enough to get my own allotment here in Hertfordshire 31st July 2019,” says Holly. 

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Holly now uses her allotment to grow all sorts of vegetables but also flowers, which she loves bringing home and enjoying in her flat. She says that she likes to try and grow vegetables that aren’t as easily found in supermarkets, especially heritage varieties. At the moment, Holly says, “I love growing winter squashes, there are so many varieties and they can store well so you can enjoy homegrown produce almost all year round!”

Reflecting on her biggest gardening success, she says, “this was my first year growing purple sprouting broccoli and I am so happy with how much it had produced and homegrown really does taste best!” However, on the other hand, Holly says she really struggles with parsnips, “they are one of my favourite vegetables, I manage to get them to germinate, but they never get a very good root!!”

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Holly says how the amazing community on Instagram inspires her every day, “I love hearing and seeing everyone’s journeys, hints/tips and celebrating success together!”. At the same time, she loves how mindful gardening is and how her allotment gives her a place to escape. “Being truly present in what I am doing, in awe of what nature can do and give… As a NHS worker, down time is key, and my allotment is the perfect place to come and escape!” A typical day in the garden for Holly usually starts with a nice strong black coffee. “I then love to just take time and see what has changed since I have last been at the plot, taking time to plan ahead, do some sowing and seeing what is good to harvest!”

Sharing her gardening plans for the year ahead, Holly says she would like to turn her current grass paths into wood chip paths and possibly get a polytunnel. However there is a very large area of brambles that needs cleansing. She adds, “just being able to be as self sufficient as possible this year would be lovely!” This year, HOlly also used the coir block compost and pots for her sowing, noting, “I am so happy at how all my seeds are coming along so far, hopefully we have a great growing year ahead!”

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Reflecting on her gardening journey so far, she also shares a few tips with other gardeners, “only grow what you like, don’t feel pressured into growing vegetables that others like but you aren’t keen on! Successional growing also ensures that you have fresh tasty crops all season long!”

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