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‘So much more than growing food’: readers on the joy of an allotment – The Guardian

To celebrate this year’s National Allotments Week, we asked you to share pictures and stories of the bounty from your precious plots, many of which are run by local councils.

You did not disappoint. From the corners of the country you sent us wonderful pictures of your produce, told us how your allotments have enhanced the health and wellbeing of your family, friends and community, and shared special moments of rain and shine. We’ve already picked a few of our favourite pictures, but here’s a further selection of what is best about Britain’s allotments:

‘A place of true peace … No Donald Trump. No Boris Johnson’

Beautiful shed, Kilwinning, Ayrshire: from allotment callout 2019

Beautiful shed in Kilwinning, Ayrshire. Photograph: Moihia/Guardian Community

“It is a place we can escape our busy life. A place of true peace where people only discuss potatoes and sweet peas … No Donald Trump. No Boris Johnson.” Moihia, Kilwinning, Ayrshire, Scotland

‘A mix of people who wouldn’t ordinarily meet’

Cucumbers, Tower Hamlets: from allotment callout 2019

Cucumbers growing in Tower Hamlets, east London. Photograph: Martin Ford/Guardian Community

“Good social chats and shared experiences. The fun of growing and the peace of the environment around us. Friendships, a shared community, a place to de-stress and relax, and to grow and eat great tasting food. Sharing produce with other allotment holders.

“A mix of people who perhaps ordinarily wouldn’t meet and mix together but share a common bond in gardening and, from that, a friendship.” Martin Ford, Tower Hamlets, east London

‘We raised £800 for the air ambulance’

Veg contributed by growers at North Stapenhill Allotments' open day, which raised £800 for the local air ambulance

Veg contributed by growers at North Stapenhill Allotments’ open day, which raised £800 for the local air ambulance. Photograph: Amy Dean/Guardian Community

“On 11 August, North Stapenhill Allotments in Burton upon Trent held its first open day. This shows all the veg contributed by the allotment growers. It was so colourful and all the money raised that day – £800 – went to the air ambulance.

“It means a great deal to be able to go to my own little plot, to dig, learn about veg and nature, and be part of a community. For some allotment holders, who have had plots for 30 years, it’s a way of life.” Amy Dean, Burton upon Trent

‘It means so much more than just growing food’

Wild strawberries, York: from allotment callout 2019

Wild strawberries, York. Photograph: Dasha Zhurauskaya/Guardian Community

“It means so much more than just growing our food; it means we can spend a lot of relaxing time outdoors. We connect to nature, let kids learn the value of food and get a real community feel by sharing produce.” Dasha Zhurauskaya, York

‘Making new allotment friends is great’

onions, Eastney, Portsmouth: from allotment callout 2019

Onions ready to take home, Portsmouth. Photograph: Allotment holder/Guardian Community

“This is our fourth year on our plot and we can’t imagine not having an allotment now. It can be hard work and time-consuming but the benefits are numerous: from growing your own fruit, veg and flowers from seed (sometimes after two or three attempts!), to the social and health aspects such as sharing and swapping plants and veg, all that fresh air in the middle of the city, finding 101 ways to cook a courgette, and discovering you quite like baking.

“Making new allotment friends is great. Everyone is there to grow their own produce and everyone has a different bit of advice on how to do it. At the end of the summer, everyone has some different veg to swap. There is never a dull time. Work can be found all year round (last winter, we rebuilt our raised beds) and in all weathers. Whether you end a busy weekend on the allotment sitting on your plot with a cuppa or a beer enjoying the sunshine, or having to take cover in the shed from a sudden downpour, it’s all part of the fun.” John and Natalie, Eastney, Portsmouth, Hampshire

‘A haven for wildlife’

lupins, Sleaford: from allotment callout 2019

Blooming marvellous flower border at The Drove allotments, Sleaford. Photograph: Louise Stedman/Guardian Community

“Our allotments are a place of escapism and wellbeing. A large, quiet and picturesque field on the edge of town beside the river provides a haven for wildlife and an opportunity for local residents – young, old and everywhere in between – to plant what they love and let it grow.

“It’s a valuable space for allotment holders to exercise, socialise, share ideas, swap produce, share recipes and generally find a wealth of good feelings from the field.” Louise Stedman, Sleaford, Lincolnshire

And just in case this is all getting a bit too rosy, here’s a more tongue in cheek take on the benefits of an allotment…

‘Keeping slightly dysfunctional people off the streets

Poppies, Reading: from allotment callout 2019

A white Californian poppy amid its golden compatriots. Photograph: John Charles/Guardian Community

“An allotment is a secret micro-world in which to immerse yourself both mentally and physically. It is like a council-run holding pen to keep all the slightly dysfunctional people off the streets of Reading!” John, Waterloo Meadows, Reading


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