I’m really excited to have a guest post from Northern Ireland based blogger Carrie, author of Grow Our Own. Like me, she finds the allotment can be a mood enhancing place; somewhere which provides reward, happiness and joy. Here’s Carrie’s post.
Hello I’m Carrie from ‘Grow Our Own’ – An Allotment Blog. I tend my plot along with my husband, here in Northern Ireland; it’s very hard work, often frustrating, time consuming and utterly amazing.
We are moving into our 6th year at this and there is still so much to learn, fun to be had and wonderful harvests to look forward too. My husband is the brains behind the operation but I get a real kick out it too, especially documenting the changes and eating the crops. I have chronic depression and an acute anxiety disorder and have found that being at one with nature and the changing seasons can have a wonderful effect on my mood. It isn’t a panacea at all, don’t get me wrong but anything that helps (and is good for you in so many other ways too) is always worth praising.
The adventure starts on the sofa at this time of year by picking what you want to grow out of the thousands of vegetable and flower options available. Gathering up all your packets of seed and tubers is a powerful expression of hope and optimism. It’s good for the soul and the imagination. A gardener is inherently an optimist you see, we put so much love and time into our soil and our plans for the coming year – you can’t be anything else.
Seedlings are a joy to behold. Once that dried up little speck of a seed comes to life it is rampant and completely addictive to watch as it matures and come to bear fruit. There’s even satisfaction to be found in locating it’s ‘enemies’ (slugs, snails, aphids etc.) and engaging in battle to save those precious crops.
Eating food you have grown yourself, picked ripe, not covered in pesticides and jetlagged is a whole new experience. They have a flavour you have only ever had a hint of before. Plus sharing this bounty with others is also rewarding, be they friends and family or the birds that soon learn that there is goodness is to be found on the ground you tend.
But really, is there anything better than your own slice of Eden? A place where the plants are a feast for the eye and the stomach. A place that pushes you in all types of weather to spend time in nature. A shed to make a cup of tea, a bench to sit upon and a garden bursting with life…this is happiness that can’t be bought, can’t be bottled but only experienced with wonder in the heart and pure joy in the soul.