I’m so happy to be returning to the allotment this year thanks to our friend Dave giving us a small patch of ground on his plot, just like he did last year when 5 year old Euan tried allotment growing for the first time. I was a bit dubious about how productive it would today with a wandering toddler in tow so set my expectations low to avoid any sense of frustration. If nothing else we’d enjoy some fresh air, sunshine and chats with lovely allotment holders. We did just that having arrived an hour before Dave with no tools or seeds (our amazing plot guardian Dave he even shares his shed palace with us so we can just rock up without having to bring things with us!). It was so lovely to chat to our old plot neighbours Pat and Robin. I had feared I might feel wistful for the days when I was able to spend all day at the plot but I obviously love my kids more than gardening which is good to know! I love being at the allotment but enjoy it in a different way now.
It’s beautiful to see how much Euan loves being there too. Admittedly he loves exploring more than the actual gardening at the moment but he shows interest and diligence with the latter when he does help because he gets to have some free time to play first. Pat and Robin are very gracious about him doing laps of their plot via the secret path behind the shed and zig zagging along the pathways between their vegetable beds. On this occasion, between playing hide and seek and pointing out plants he recognised, Euan assisted Pat with planting her seed potatoes (she didn’t need the help of course, but E was thrilled to be given the responsibility of tucking the potatoes into their trench). This is what I always loved about the allotment – the sharing of knowledge between generations and the relaxed and easy sharing of time.
Euan correctly guessed the name of the rhubarb plant and happily helped to tug some stalks from it when Pat offered us some. We also received some forced rhubarb from Dave so we shall have to decide how to use our two kinds of rhubarb. The beauty of blogging is that there is never a shortage of ideas so a quick look at my post 5 ways with… a ton of rhubarb will be a good place to start!
We wandered over to Dave’s plot to await his arrival and saw that he had prepared the ground for us so we could get straight on to the business of sowing our first seeds (I know! how lucky are we?) We rummaged through Dave’s seed tin and Euan chose kohl rabi after his success with growing it last year, Autumn King carrots, watercress and lettuce.
Luca was actually quite interested in what we were doing but had to be distracted with invitations to dig holes away from where we were working. He just couldn’t grasp the concept of walking around the seed beds every time he decided to make a beeline for me. He loved the watering can but found it a bit ‘‘big, big” . I admired his determination to keep returning to the watering can and check whether it was still to heavy. A couple of lines of seeds later and it was just the right. He looked so pleased with himself as he dragged it over to me.
Luca definitely worked up an appetite for his snacks after all that effort. He’s not a big eater but loves nibble sized fruit and veg and chomping his way through apple slices occupied him for a little while at least. I can’t wait until our allotment growing starts bearing fruit as I always loved snacking on green beans, peas and berries freshly picked. I think Luca will too so it was very thoughtful of Dave to give us some space right by the blackberries.
The allotment provides a sense of community for us that is lacking in the street in which we live (as home owners in a street of tenants and students who come and go). We have history at the allotment and there’s an ease in conversations as we stop to chat with people tending their plot. Although we had a 5 year gap after letting go of the plot when Euan was a year old it feels like we never left. Only now we have the privilege of enjoying the space and growing again with 1/10th of the effort it would normally take. It makes it a joy to be there with the boys and we are ever grateful to our wonderful allotment friend Dave. Gardening with kids is fab!