A Growing Movement, published on www.image.ie/Living/Making/A-Growing-Movement
A lot has been written about allotments lately. It has certainly generated its own little phenomenon on these shores over the last few years. Whether in community and urban gardens or plots of land in the mountainous suburbs, seeds are sown and crops are eaten with family and friends all over Dublin City and beyond. Long championed by the likes of Bord Bia and Teagasc for its health, social and economic benefits, the Grow Your Own trend is here to stay. Indeed, allotmenteering has been known to be competitive, so there is even an award for it.
Here are five reasons why you should give it a try:
* Own-grown food is healthier and cheaper than shop fare.
* Plots are available for nominal fees all over Dublin.
* It’s a great way to spend time outdoors.
* It will give you sense of achievement and reduce stress.
* It’s a great way to exercise.
But how can you do this well? Gardening columnist Vandra Costello shares her top tips for allotment success:
* Put in the time. You’re looking at a few hours a week during the main growing season, March – September.
* Pest control. There is a big range of pest-repellent solutions, from organic and natural products to more powerful pesticides.
* Use the first year to experiment. Plant what you like and see what vegetables and fruit really work.
* Start indoors. Given the capriciousness of Irish weather, it’s probably better to have plants germinate indoors before moving them outside.
* Go small. Start with root vegetables, leafy legumes and hardy herbs.
If you’re thinking it’s already too late to start planting this year, fear not. There are in fact lots of vegetables, fruits and flowers you can sow throughout the summer. Check the sowing calendar on seedaholic.com, and for a week-to-week gardening organiser, visit garden.ie. For more general advice and to read about the benefits of growing your own grub, you can check the online compendium on GIY Ireland, which has more growing guides and information on growers’ meetings throughout the country.
If you’re ready to get your hands dirty, check the latest allotment rental opportunities from your local council or the small ads in your local paper. Get stuck in and show off your resounding successes on that Instagram thing.