I wanted to take a brief moment to talk about gardening and how it can have positive affects on your Mental Health. There is a reason why scores of people up and down the country say gardening is one of the activities that brings them comfort and joy. Whether this means tending to some flowers and shrubs in the garden, growing some vegetables or even manicuring a carefully crafted lawn – there is a satisfaction from curating green spaces in whichever way you choose and doing this can be really rewarding.
I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that I have limited space with no garden, so for a good while gardening hasn’t really been on my radar up until relatively recently. Early last year however,I received an indoor orange tree and managed to keep this alive for long enough (it’s still going!) that this gave me the (greatly misguided) belief that I should get an allotment. I contacted the local Council and was advised that miraculously, there were still some plots available. The start of my gardening adventure began.
The plot I have is pretty large and, like many allotments that become available, had not been tended to for a long time. Luckily, there was a shed, a poly tunnel and the remnants of some raised beds left behind and other bits and bobs which would be able to be reused. The plot was wildly overgrown – with trees and shrubs in random places and couch grass, bindweed and dandelion all staking their claim for owner of plot but over the past year and with the help of my family these were cut back, removed and the ground covered to prevent new growth and to allow growing for the next season. On top of this the poly tunnel has been restored to allow growth for seedlings which can be planted out after the frosts have gone.
I could bang on for ages about work done, mishaps and future projects yet to be done but what I wanted to get to heart of was how this process has made me feel personally and what the allotment means to me. Before the allotment I had no experience of growing or even keeping anything alive, other than the previously mentioned orange tree that kicked everything off.
I have learned over the past year about how things grow, what things I don’t want to grow and even been able to become more aquatinted with tools which is something I hasn’t been in skill set. I’ve felt a great sense of achievement in watching the allotment change from what it was – to something that is more in the vision of what I’d like. The best thing is it doesn’t need to be perfect. You can just give it a go and if it doesn’t work – that’s fine.
This year, even though I’ve started late, I’ve been able to start growing some vegetables from seed. The process of popping a little speck of potential into some growing compost and adding water has been nothing short of miraculous. Tending to little seedlings and watching them pop out of the soil and begin to grow has started to make me think about the way I personally view things and I can’t wait to see the next stage and to hopefully get something tasty to eat at the end of it too. I would highly recommend gardening of any form to anyone. Even if you don’t have the space there are some great small space options out there and great guides on what to do whether it’s windowsill herbs and flowers or even a little indoor tree – there really is something out there for everyone.
As always, please remember that if you are in crisis or know of anyone who is; The Crisis Team are here and offering support despite the lockdown. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on our referral line on 0115 880 0282 or crisis phone 07594 008 356. You will get a response within 24 hours.