Get to know more about allotment life by joining in with some of the many events around the country for National Allotments Week next week (13-19 August, www.nsalg.org).
Get inspired by visiting an allotment site open day near you. Dozens are flinging their gates wide with events from veg competitions and plant sales to barbecues, raffles and treasure trails for the kids.
This year’s theme is ‘Living and Growing’, highlighting the importance of growing your own food. Though the celebrations are centred around allotments, the emphasis is on growing your own wherever you are, whether it’s herbs on a balcony, an apple tree on a patio, strawberries in hanging baskets or tomatoes in a big pot by the back door, ripe and ready to pop in a salad.
After all, not everyone is lucky enough to have access to an allotment plot: there are now 80,000 people waiting for the keys to their own plot across the UK.
So a good alternative, and a great way to hone your veg-growing skills while you’re waiting, is to grow a little at home instead, in windowboxes, pots and containers or just tucked in among your flowers in the garden.
You’ll find lots of inspiration and all you need to get growing right here in the garden centre at Henley on Thames. Here are a few ideas for squeezing in a little home-grown produce wherever you’re growing:
Make a windowsill herb garden: Get three matching pots and plant with marjoram, thyme and basil to pop onto your windowsill and pick at will.
Grow a Ballerina apple tree: These naturally dwarfing, upright little fruit trees are perfectly happy in pots and will give you lots of fruit all summer.
Plant a strawberry windowbox: Strawberries are ideal for sunny windowboxes. Trailing ‘perpetual’ varieties like ‘Mara des Bois’ produce fruits all summer long.