‘I like gardening. It’s a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself’ – Alice Sebold

We felt excited and nervous when we recieved the keys to our new allotment plot. Excitement because it’s a blank canvas just waiting to be transformed. Nervous because it’s quite daunting taking on such a big project!

I’m Hannah, and myself and my husband Simon live in the heart of Yorkshire with our four children and aptly named black Labrador Loki. This plot will be our second allotment plot, we took on our first rather by accident in 2015, and suddenly I was hooked.

Our first allotment

Simon and I met at university, but didn’t become a couple until a few years later. We had a whirlwind year where we were engaged, bought an house, married and then fell pregnant in the same 12 months. Shortly after taking on a mortgage, we dropped to one income and had more money outgoing than incoming.

Where does the allotment come in? We approached our situation in a rather pragmatic way. We researched and made a list of every tiny thing we could do to save money, and working my way slowly down that list to leave no stone unturned. ‘Put your name down for an allotment so you can save money by growing your own food’ was somewhere on that list, and I put our name down and continued with our plans. A few years later, we unexpectedly received a letter – and we thought – why not! Our enthusiasm made up for our total lack of experience.

A few years and four children later, Simon had a bad back and was recovering from a spinal operation. With four very young children (aged 6, 4, 2 and newborn) it was almost impossible to keep on top of the allotment too – so we made the sad decision give the plot up. Although it was a sad decision, we felt this huge sense of relief that we could concentrate our time on our little family.

Our New Plot

Fast forward a few years, and our ‘new-born’ has just begun her school journey – and we have just moved house into a different town. It seemed like a good time to put our name down for another allotment. I actually added our name to the allotment waiting list before we moved house, expecting to wait a few years. A letter arrived about a month after we moved in! So we excitedly signed our name on the dotted line!

The children oldest two children remember growing cucamelons and radishes, the also remember picking strawberries. The youngest two can’t remember much of our old allotment or any of the things we harvested. All four (who are now aged 10, 9, 6 & 4) are excited about growing, and we are hoping to encourage that excitement!

We have a lot of plans for our new space. Its 35m x 8.5m which is about 3/5s the size of our old allotment which was absolutely huge – so hopefully this should be much easier to manage! Wish us luck, looking back on these photos, we might need it!