What could be more satisfying than sitting down to delicious meal of organic vegetables that you grew yourself? This week is National Allotments Week and it’s a great time to get inspired to start your own little patch of paradise. The benefits of having an allotment are great and retirement is a perfect time to start. Have a look at why we think you should get started!
1. Fresh Fruit and Vegetables All Year Round
People are increasingly more conscious about where their food comes from and how it has been grown. Vegetables from the supermarket may look perfect but they’re nowhere near as good as freshly picked from the soil. Taking on an allotment allows you to control all these aspects. You can decide what you grow, enjoying fresh, healthy and delicious vegetables in season. There is no end to what you can do with an allotment these days.
2. Saving Money
Allotments cost on average around £30-£50 per year, which is a small sum considering how much food you can grow on them. While there may be only one or two of you in your home, think of your children and grandchildren who would benefit from some delicious fruit and vegetables. Invite your neighbours round and impress them with your new skills. All you need are a few basic tools (spade, fork, rake and a trowel), and a few packs of seed each year. However, try not to get carried away buying expensive tools. Ask around for second hand items and borrow from friends if you’re on a budget.
3. Exercise and Stress Relief
During your retirement years, it’s important to keep active and enjoy life to the full. Having an allotment is a great hobby which can provide much needed exercise as well. Did you know that just 30 minutes of gardening on your allotment can burn around 150 calories, the same as doing low impact aerobics? As well as exercise, the simple fact that being outside with nature is a great stress reliever. If you consider the cost of an allotment and compare it to a gym membership, you’re saving money again and perhaps enjoying yourself more out in the fresh air.
4. The Allotment Community
Retirement is a fantastic time to meet new people and make like-minded friends. Allotments nowadays have a wonderful mix of people of all backgrounds and ages for you to connect with. There is generally a wonderful community spirit, and if you're in need of advice or help then just ask - most plot holders love to give advice and share their experiences with you. As well as day to day passing, many allotment communities organize social gatherings such as barbecues where you can enjoy some of each other’s delicious produce! Some allotment sites even arrange their own shows, which can get very competitive, but are always great fun.
Whatever your reason for getting an allotment, if you have a few hours a week to put in you won't regret it. It can be a fun, satisfying and healthy hobby to take on. For more information, have a look at the How to Get an Allotment page from the National Allotment Society for more information on how to get started.