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Today marks the start of National Allotments Week when we celebrate those little patches of given green that bring people together and unite them through their shared love of low-cost, healthy fresh fruit and vegetables, physical exercise and social interaction.
Once upon a time allotments had faded in popularity. But the COVID-19 pandemic saw their desirability soar as people sought a new way of life - and a better way of living.
For example, Suttons, the long-established supplier of seeds, bulbs, and other horticultural products, released its figures of seed sales during lockdown one, reporting that they saw growth of over 2,000% with 95% of all seed packets being for edibles!
Sales within the year tripled and in the 15 weeks of lockdown one they grew tenfold. Plus, with the desire for garden space jumping up on the wish lists for many house movers too, the trend looks like it’s here to stay.
Soooo…after a year and a half in lockdown keeping our hands clean, it seems that getting your hands dirty may be the key to boosting your health and mental wellbeing!
But why is gardening so good for you? Research conducted by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in collaboration with the University of Sheffield and the University of Virginia, found that it boosts mental health, eases episodes of depression, boosts energy levels and reduces stress.
The study, of more than 6,000 UK residents, found that people who garden frequently (at least two or three times a week) felt less stress and an increased sense of wellbeing. People who garden every day had wellbeing scores 6.6% higher, and stress levels 4.2% lower, than those who did not garden at all.
Allotments have been in existence for hundreds of years, with evidence pointing back to Anglo-Saxon times. But the system we recognise today has its roots in the Nineteenth Century, when land was given over to the labouring poor for the provision of food growing.
Science aside, I think there’s nothing like fresh air to raise the spirits - whether it’s in a garden on on the moors. It was a lifesaver in those moments of lockdown or isolation - and as a family we are trying to stick to that ‘fresh air break’ habit we made.
There are many things in Tavistock, Exeter and online Insideout that will encourage you in the outdoors. Here’s a small list of ideas; a gift for you or someone else!
What about our Annual flowering mixture designed to give a big hit of colour to your garden. Each pack includes a mix of the most popular UK native annual wildflower species. The next couple of months are the perfect time to thrown these around for them to come up next year.
If the idea of wildflowers inspires you, then this Britain’s Wildflowers Book book is a great way to find out more - from using them for health, right through to the superstitions that surround them.
If you know someone that has been inspired by lockdown gardening then this Garden Lover card would be perfect for them….!
So are you a lockdown gardener? Have you always been green fingered? Is your veg plot all you need for a healthy diet? We’d love to hear from you. Join the conversations on our social media channels and send us the pictures of your labour of love.
Ps…if you’re interested in obtaining an allotment of your own, then here’s a helping hand to making that dream a reality:
An allotment in Exeter > https://exeter.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/parks-and-open-spaces/allotments/apply-for-an-allotment/
Allotments in Tavistock > https://www.tavistock.gov.uk/council-services/allotments
Allotments in West Devon > https://www.westdevon.gov.uk/article/6094/Allotments