Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Growing food

A good few years back, a friend introduced me to allotments in Glasgow. She took me to her allotment and I fell in love with the idea of growing my own food. My name went on the waiting list, within six months I had an allotment.

I tried. And tried. And tried again, yet every year there was a reason for my endeavours being thwarted. Year one it was the actual plot I had chosen - contaminated, overgrown with plants that were impossible to move. I got a new plot and it was much better, yet I struggled to get anything to grow. Life took over a few times too, I even was in the committee bad books, and when Cubling was born, I tried again, full of ambition. She was having none of it and cried incessantly for the whole duration of each visit to my beloved and neglected patch of land.

I decided to call it a day. Heavy heartedly. We took some wonderful photos of the family before leaving the plot, and the plants went to friends across the city for a second life.

At the same time, we found our home, with the prerequisite of a garden. Not much of a garden, mind you, we live in Glasgow where houses are small and tenement flats are the norm. But we do have a garden, even two, a north facing front and a south facing back garden. Slowly, each year, I've been building up some food growing. Slowly because in our first year, Cubling still was high demand, in our second year, our time was taken up with other things, and now, in our third year, I'm starting to feel rather proud of my patchy gardening attempts. There are two raised beds which arrived exactly a year ago, now filled with cabbages, broccoli, leek, spinach, courgette and pumpkin. There are pots all over the place, sunflowers, berries, potatoes, lettuce. There's still potential for more, still a lot needing done, as every garden, it's a work in progress.

It's also still a work in progress because I'm awfully good at killing off plants. Not quite sure why, but a natural I am not. I can't seem to grow lettuce from seed, and messed up my tatties although I should know better. I don't get why one raised bed does wonderfully while the other doesn't seem to do my plants much good. My berry harvest is rather meagre, and of course I wish I could do something nice to the north facing front garden. So I was delighted when I found out about Urban Roots' Grow More Food course - a free 8 week course for southside residents on food growing and composting (an area where I can only be described as a fail, and not for want of trying). The programme looks rather good and because of the interest in the course, there will be at least one additional course from late July. So if you're a Glasgow South resident and interested in learning more about growing food, how to do it in small and bigger spaces, get in touch with Urban Roots for more information.



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