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The work of a gardener never ends!
We recently spoke with Abby – an avid gardener who grows in allotments. We asked her some questions about her own gardening experiences, including what she grows, tips for new gardeners, and any future plans she has for her allotment and garden.
1.How and when did you start your gardening journey?
“I’ve always been a gardener, for as long as I can remember. I grew up in London and wasn’t surrounded by much green space, but I was lucky that we had a garden. I grew up playing in the flower beds, sowing seeds, being sent to pick raspberries from the fruit patch and harvesting tomatoes from the veg plot.
When I moved out and got my own place, I was thrilled to finally have a garden of my own.
A few years ago, the patio of my garden was overrun with pots of tomatoes, courgettes and peppers I could hardly move about. I realised I needed more space! So I applied for an allotment, and after a two year wait, I was rewarded with a plot in March 2020”.
2.Was there someone that inspired you to start gardening?
“I come from a green-fingered family. My parents loved their garden. We spent hours in it growing up. My mum in particular inspired my love of flowers but also encouraged me to grow my own veg”.
3.What do you grow? Do you have a speciality?
“On hearing that I grow my own veg, I often get asked ‘what are you growing?’. My response is usually ‘what am I not growing?’. I want to try everything! Having an allotment has meant I’ve been able to try new things and diversify old favourites. Although some experimental crops have definitely been more successful than others!
In terms of my specialty, it’s probably tomatoes. This year I grew more than 40 varieties. I love growing tomatoes from around the world, all different shapes, sizes, colours and tastes.
4.How do you decide what you are going to grow or plant?
“Primarily, I try to grow what I like to eat. One of the great things about growing your own, is that you can grow varieties that you’d never find in the supermarkets of London. As such I often try to grow interesting varieties of veg, whether than be courgettes, beans or beetroot. There are also huge health benefits to having a multi-coloured diet, so growing a rainbow of veg is important.
When it comes to what to grow, I take lots of inspiration from others, especially the Instagram allotmenting community. It’s a great place to learn and pick up new ideas”.
5.Do you have any gardening traditions?
“Constantly running out of twine, misplacing my secateurs, losing endless numbers of gardening gloves and getting unnecessarily muddy”.
6.Have you used coir based products in your garden before?
“I first used coir last year when I had the big job of turning my allotment plot no-dig over the winter. This required a huge amount of compost, but luckily I discovered coir!
I found coir was a great addition to my no dig beds, it’s in all of them, including my polytunnel! I love that its easy to store in the shed, so it’s there when I need it and adds great texture to the soil.
But my favourite thing about coir… It’s so much fun to mix up! I always feel like a kid playing in a sandpit as I mix it together in my wheelbarrow”.
7.What’s the hardest plant/crop you have ever tried?
“I don’t think there’s something I’ve really struggled with. You might have a bad year with a crop, this year was a disaster for tomatoes for me due to early blight, but the next year can be a different story.
I find lettuce can be frustratingly annoying to grow. It can be decimated by slugs overnight and is so easy to bolt”.
8.What are your future plans with your garden?
“To keep growing! I have no big plans for the allotment right now. It’s been almost 2 years transforming it from an unloved, overgrown plot to my productive haven, providing me with an escape from city life. For 2022, I want to enjoy it in the knowledge there’s no more big jobs to do!
So my attention will be turning to my garden at home. I want to dig out the flower beds and start again. The work of a gardener never ends!”
9.Do you have any tips to offer to new gardeners?
“Every failure is a lesson, don’t give up. Try again next year. It’s a marathon not a sprint”.
Thank you to Abby for taking the time to share her gardening story with us, you can continue to follow Abby’s journey by checking out her Instagram @abbysallotment. If you have your own gardening experiences which you would like to share, send us a message on Instagram, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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