This year, my dad retires from his allotment and passes it on to me and my son. My son has been helping him over the winter and has been learning about his no-dig system. I have also introduced my grandson to the plot, with small activities to keep him interested. These include an introduction to the compost heap and harvesting runner beans.
Several years back, I had an Aberdeen council allotment at the Smithfield plots, off Clifton Road. I used the full dig, trial and error method. Conclusion - it takes a lot of time and effort to get any reasonable crop. I could grow potatoes easily but not much else.
The benefits, to me, of an allotment have been to keep fit, socialise, learn and pass on gardening skills. If you get a good crop of courgettes one year that is a bonus. Another benefit is that my children appreciated the effort taken to grow vegetables and always ate them.
There are many books on different gardening methods and keen growers ready to impart their knowledge. Do remember that in the North East of Scotland there is a much shorter growing season, so choose your method accordingly to where you are geographically. If you want to put in some time and effort with a new outdoor hobby, I thoroughly recommend trying an allotment.
How to get an allotment in the UK
In the UK, most allotments are Council run and were set up as a way for people in cities to gain access to outdoor space. Some are privately owned. The rents for an Aberdeen allotment are currently £13-£88 per annum, depending on the size. I had a ¾ size plot which was ideal for my family of 6. They have micro plots for people who want to try it out first.
For more information on city allotments go to your local council webpage and search 'allotments'.
About me - Sylvia Hardie
I grew up loving nature since my childhood in the 1970s, and now doing what I can to help tackle the climate emergency. Alongside this I have been raising my family and teaching them what I know about nature.
As a grandmother, it is more important than ever to pass on my love of nature and years of knowledge. I can be found on Instagram at @sylvia.ganesh