Sunny Days Planting on the Allotment

Sun 26 March 2022

by Marie Field, Community Development Coordinator

It had been some years since I had an opportunity to be on an allotment. I had not fully realised what an enrichening experience this can be in many ways. A wonderful sunny day in late March near the lovely coast at Swanage in Dorset, meeting new people and sharing stories about the local area added extra interest to a very enjoyable day outside working for our planting day.

I had not done any gardening on the land this spring time, but with great company, light hearted chat about what tasks to do, how deep the plants need to go etc., tools at hand ready to use, I was keen to get my trowel into the rich brown earth.  I started with planting three blackcurrant plants, under the net cage, so the birds don’t eat them all as they begin to ripen in the summer time.

I had planted two of the bushes with great satisfaction, when it was time for a tea break, a very nice brew, made by Malcolm with a very yummy flapjack, donated by the Wareham wholefood shop. 

Feeling very pleased with myself for finishing my first job, under the guidance of Reach volunteer Malcolm, who looks after the allotment on most Fridays (weather permitting). Malcolm sometimes has help from members of the Wareham Recovery Group, but would welcome more volunteers, mentors, and service users to join in. Together we work the land, keep it in good crop rotation, weed, hoe, water the crops when required and harvest all the great produce that are grown on the allotment, all for the benefits of Reach service users.

Volunteers working the soil at the Swanage Allotment in Dorset

It took me a few minutes to find the plot as there are a number of plots on the site, but when you come along, it’s right up the top end, to the far right hand side – you can almost hear and smell the sea in the nearby distance, a lovely fresh sea breeze, keeping the temperature just  perfect on the day I visited.

Well, after getting rather too comfortable sat in the sun with the rays on my face enjoying the tea break, it was time for some more planting. I was really into the whole planting day by now and enjoying myself. I planted three and a half rows of onions, making sure I got them the right way up, marking the rows with a label to hand. Followed by a bit of raking the earth to plant some very fine carrot seeds, it will be very interesting to see how these grow, as the seeds are so delicate. All good fun to do though. Francisca, Reach Dorset’s Community Development Lead was busy planting the potatoes and radishes nearby. We were all getting some sunshine and a bit of an early springtime tan, with a good boost of vitamin D from the sunshine.

I will be looking forward to going back to see how it’s all growing, in a few weeks’ time. It was such a great day and I enjoyed my time on the allotment sharing time with others on a great day out. It was such a rewarding experience and totally lifted my spirits being part of the day and get my hands into the soil with my gardening gloves, wearing my jeans and shirt, and sturdy boots. My efforts were rewarded with some nice fresh produce. I was given a gift of some rhubarb, potatoes and leeks, and am now really looking forward to cooking and eating some freshly grown produce for supper.

Get involved with the allotment at Swanage, I haven’t enjoyed myself so much in a down to earth way this year and looking forward to following the allotments progress through the seasons of the year.  

Healthy Benefits of Gardening

  • Stress-relief and self-esteem are gained for regular gardening sessions, while immunity and overall well-being are improved. It’s good for your mental health and promotes a healthy weight.
  • Feel good factor and a good night’s sleep also make this a highly enjoyable and great way to enjoy the outdoors. You also get to see and eat the rewards of all your work and efforts!
  • No special equipment needed – it’s all in the shed on the allotment, with refreshments to hand, what can you do that’s free and so good for your mind, body and spirit? I highly recommend a day out on the land with great company.

Come and join in at the allotment for a rest and to connect to nature on a Friday at:

The end (little car park) Prospect Crescent or from Cauldron Barn Road, both BH199QQ

Contact Malcolm on: 07780 115 833

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