Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Allotments

How do I start Blogging?!

Well, the idea was to hopefully get in contact with people who are engaged in or even have an interest in organic gardening or allotments. I am fairly new to it so all advice or ideas will be welcome.Allotments are a fairly new concept in Ireland, they have been encouraged in England since the second world war when the people were asked to 'Dig for Victory' and be self sufficient. There is growing concern about the amount of 'foodmiles' our food clocks up before it gets to our tables. Surely food cannot travel thousands of miles and still be edible without a hefty input of preservatives?!

How did I start an Allotment?

Well, both of my parents, now deceased RIP, came from the country. My father came from Johnstown, Co.Kilkenny and my mother came from Gortnahoe, Co.Tipperary, they would both have had farming backgrounds. They moved to Cork city because thats where employment was available back in the 50's. They lived in flats until eventually we got a house with a garden. My father grew vegetables such as potatoes, cabbage, carrots, onions, lettuce and outdoor tomatoes which lined the window sills and filled the shelf in the hotpress to ripen! There was nothing exotic but we would have been fed for a good part of the year from it. I can remember when money was scarce, my mother would pick and wash maybe 6 heads of lettuce and send me down to the local shop where I had the job of asking the shopkeeper to buy it. I know I was paid 6d per head in 'old' money but he sold it for 1/6d!
In time I married and had my own garden where I in turn grew veg and flowers. As time went on I had a growing family, 8 in all, and went to work fulltime so it became easier to buy my veg in the local supermarket. My father retired and grew lettuce,tomatoes and plants in a small greenhouse he built at the back of the house. My own children would remember this phase of our lives and spent time in and out of the greenhouse as they grew. They now have their own gardens which they tend and spend their time and money on, and I like to think its something that is part of their heritage and is a family tradition they have absorbed over the years.
What has this to do with starting an allotment you are probably asking.......EVERYTHING!
My father was dead 13 years when my mother passed away with cancer in 2006. The family home was gone then, my 2 sisters, my brother and I had to clear the house etc for sale. The big things like furniture and the smaller personal items can be easily decided on ,but unless you have actually been faced with this situation there are a lot of things you absolutely don't know what to do with ie; you don't want to discard or give away but they have no value other than memories. Going through the shed I came across some items in this catagory, I moved them down to my own shed rather than throw them out and there they stayed for some time unused and forgotten.
I found to come home from work and to go out into the garden helped me to remember my parents and get over my mothers painful death, as we as a family had cared for her at the end. Bit by bit I dug more and more , so what had been a fairly small flower bed became a bigger and bigger vegetable patch,aided and abetted by my grandson, Kevin who would dig and water for Ireland! I used my fathers garden fork rescued from growing cobwebs in the shed ,for this work. It is of the long handled, old fashioned four prong type, it must be all of 49 years old, the handle worn smooth by time and years of use.That year I grew lettuce, sweet corn,peas and tried growing a pumpkin whose stalk and leaves romped all over the garden, I reckon it was about 12 feet long but NO pumpkin!
The following year,one of my daughters, Kathryn, saw an advert for organic allotments near where she is living and the 2 of us went up to have a look. We paid our money and got a fairly overgrown plot and then the fun and the backbreaking work began!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

love it, now I know where my writing came from. Love this blog Mom!

can I put an order in for some beetroot and lettuce this summer? lol
Linda...